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Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month: An important time to talk about breast ultrasound

October is Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month, and it’s also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is a great time to talk about the importance of breast ultrasound, a safe and effective imaging test that can be used to detect breast cancer early. An ultrasound does not replace the need for a mammogram but is often used to add important information. The mammogram remains the gold standard for detecting abnormalities in the breast, and ultrasound further characterizes the tissue. However, ultrasound cannot detect the earliest forms of breast cancer, particularly microcalcifications seen on a mammogram. Therefore, ultrasound compliments the mammogram and may provide additional information but is not a substitute for a mammogram.

Breast ultrasound is a non-invasive procedure that uses sound waves to create images of the breast tissue. It is often used with mammograms to provide a more complete picture of the breast. A breast ultrasound is most used when a mammogram identifies dense breast tissue. Breast ultrasound is beneficial for women with dense breast tissue, as it can detect abnormalities that may not be visible on a mammogram.
Breast ultrasound is considered diagnostic if an area of concern is identified on a mammogram, breast exam, or MRI. Ultrasound is an additional tool physicians and sonographers use to characterize breast tissue. Ultrasound can also determine if a mass is cystic (filled with fluid) or solid.

A breast ultrasound is considered screening if the patient and her physician have found no areas of concern. A patient may request a screening ultrasound if her breast tissue is dense (per mammogram report results). New York State passed the Breast Density Inform Act in January 2013, requiring radiologists to inform patients of their breast density with their mammogram results.
Breast ultrasound can be used to:

  • Detect breast cancer early
  • Distinguish between solid and fluid-filled breast lumps
  • Evaluate the size, shape, and margins of breast lesions
  • Guide needle biopsies of breast lesions

Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month is important because it helps to educate the public about the benefits of ultrasound and its many uses in healthcare. It also highlights sonographers’ important role in providing high-quality patient care. At Elizabeth Wende Breast Care our sonographers are certified in breast ultrasound.

  • Talk to your doctor about whether breast ultrasound is right for you.
  • Encourage your friends and family to get regular breast cancer screenings.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States. Early detection is key to successful treatment. By getting regular breast cancer screenings, including breast ultrasound, you can catch breast cancer early and increase your chances of survival.

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