A mammogram is still the best screening tool to use to find Breast cancer early. Sometimes though a lump or other breast problem may not show up on a mammogram, or the mammogram may not give your physician enough information. In these cases, the Radiologist or your physician may recommend another method of imaging.

Another method of imaging that is used is called Ultrasound. Ultrasound is the most commonly used method to look at a suspicious finding on a mammogram. When used on the Breast, it can tell the difference between liquid filled cysts, which are usually benign cysts, or solid masses. If you or your doctor feels a lump, but there may be no findings on a mammogram, then Ultrasound may be used to evaluate that area further. Ultrasound is especially helpful in women with dense breasts. Another benefit from Ultrasound is that it can be repeated as often as necessary since is uses sound waves so there is no exposure to radiation.

MRI is another imaging method used. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine uses a large magnet and radio waves to create an image of the breast. Using an MRI specific intravascular contrast and a computer-assisted program (CAD), questionable findings on mammography and ultrasound can be further evaluated. Patients who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer may have a pre-operative MRI to look for additional sites of potential suspicion in the same or opposite breast. For women with the highest lifetime risk of developing breast cancer (including having BRAC-1 and BRAC-II genes), screening MRI alternating with mammography is recommended.

Ultrasound and Breast MRI should not entirely replace mammography. They should  compliment one another if needed. Early detection is your best protection. Remember to get your mammogram yearly.

For more information, please call Diagnostic Imaging Associates at (716) 636-1902.