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Is Ultrasound the most accurate and affordable procedure in detecting malignant tumors of the breast or breast cancer?

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Akanksha Pardeshi

Medical Expert Medical Expert
Member since 05 December 2017 19 January 2018 at 11:39

Two tests may be better than one.

That’s the conclusion of researchers in a new study that looked at the reliability of both ultrasounds and mammograms. Where mammography is available, ultrasound should be seen as a supplemental test for women with dense breasts who do not meet high-risk criteria for screening MRI and for high-risk women with dense breasts who are unable to tolerate MRI.

However, mammograms expose women to small doses of radiation. Also, it may miss masses in dense breasts. Breast ultrasound has its advantages, too. The technician may look for lesions hidden within dense breast tissue (parenchyma). There’s no radiation involved. How effective an ultrasound exam depends on the skill of the person performing it.

Human error can lead to overlooked lesions or misinterpreted results. But unlike mammography, ultrasound can’t make out architectural distortions, calcifications, or asymmetries. There is also a higher false-positive rate of ultrasound compared to mammography. False positives often lead to more tests, including biopsies. That can add to healthcare costs.