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Can You Detect Breast Cancer with An Ultrasound?

Jun. 13, 22

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What is breast ultrasound?

Breast ultrasound is an imaging test that uses sound waves to look at the inside of your breasts. It can help your healthcare provider find breast problems. It also lets your healthcare provider see how well blood is flowing to areas in your breasts. This test is often used when a change has been seen on a mammogram or when a change is felt, but does not show up on a mammogram.

The healthcare provider moves a wand-like device called a transducer over your skin to make the images of your breasts. The transducer sends out sound waves that bounce off your breast tissue. The sound waves are too high-pitched for you to hear. The transducer then picks up the bounced sound waves. These are made into pictures of the inside of your breasts.

Your healthcare provider can add another device called a Doppler probe to the transducer. This probe lets your healthcare provider hear the sound waves the transducer sends out. He or she can hear how fast blood is flowing through a blood vessel and in which direction it is flowing. No sound or a faint sound may mean that you have a blockage in the flow.

Ultrasound is safe to have during pregnancy because it does not use radiation. It is also safe for people who are allergic to contrast dye because it does not use dye.


Why might I need a breast ultrasound?

Are ultrasounds used to detect cancer? Mammograms provide more detailed images than ultrasounds, so ultrasounds alone are not recommended in most cases for screening. But a mammogram's X-rays have a hard time getting through dense breast tissue. Ultrasounds can be useful to catch breast cancers that may be hidden behind dense breast tissue. They can also help with diagnosis in a number of other situations. A breast ultrasound is most often done to find out if a problem found by a mammogram or physical exam of the breast may be a cyst filled with fluid or a solid tumor.

Breast ultrasound is not usually done to screen for breast cancer. This is because it may miss some early signs of cancer. An example of early signs that may not show up on ultrasound are tiny calcium deposits called microcalcifications.

Ultrasound may be used if you:

ㆍHave particularly dense breast tissue. A mammogram may not be able to see through the tissue.

ㆍAre pregnant. Mammography uses radiation, but ultrasound does not. This makes it safer for the fetus.

ㆍAre younger than age 25

Your healthcare provider may also use ultrasound to look at nearby lymph nodes, help guide a needle during a biopsy, or to remove fluid from a cyst.

Your healthcare provider may have other reasons to recommend a breast ultrasound.


How does an ultrasound work?

Ultrasounds use sound waves — not radiation — to create images. During the ultrasound procedure, the technician applies a special gel to the breast and moves a special wand or transducer over the breast. As the sound waves from the ultrasound move through the breast, an image is created on the screen.

There are different types and features of ultrasound that are used for breast imaging:

ㆍTwo-dimensional (2D) is the standard type of ultrasound that produces pictures in shades of black and gray.

ㆍThree-dimensional (3D) ultrasound provides more detailed pictures of the breast compared with a 2D ultrasound.

ㆍFour-dimensional (4D) ultrasound also evaluates the movement of the breast tissue in addition to 3D features.

ㆍDoppler ultrasound visualizes the blood flow in a breast abnormality.

ㆍElastography checks the elasticity, or "bounce," of a breast lump to see how stiff it is.


Elastography by XBit 90 

Elastography by XBit 90

The last words

Mammograms are considered the best screening tool for breast cancer in women over age 40. However, ultrasounds also have an important role in detecting breast cancer. An ultrasound can assist diagnosis after screening or when other types of imaging aren't available. Ultrasounds are also used to evaluate breast lumps and obtain biopsies. We are an affordable ultrasound device supplier, please feel free to contact us if you need them!

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