Your Breast Screening: Five Important Questions
Mammography may not be enough. Here’s what you need to know to get a full picture of your breast health.
You’re taking responsibility for your breast health — conducting self-breast checks, undergoing breast exams at your annual well-woman appointments, getting your yearly mammogram. But if you have dense breast tissue or implants, a mammogram and physician exam may not be providing a comprehensive picture of your breast health. For women with dense breast tissue, studies show that mammography misses 50 percent to 60 percent of cancers.
Whole breast ultrasound with SonoCiné improves those numbers dramatically by detecting small cancers that can be missed by mammography alone. How?
Tiny cancers are white and easily visible in fatty breasts, which show up dark on a mammogram. Dense breast tissue, however, shows up white on a mammogram, which makes white cancers nearly impossible to detect — it’s often described as looking for a snowball in a snowstorm.
If you have dense breast tissue or implants, a mammogram coupled with SonoCiné is necessary to give you and your doctor a full picture of your breast health.
Here are five important questions to discuss with your doctor when considering your screening options.
- How comfortable is the screening? SonoCiné whole breast ultrasound does not require any radiation, breast compression or injections. The examination is painless and only takes around 30 minutes.
- Does the screening encompass the entire breast? The SonoCiné whole breast ultrasound imaging wand screens all of your breast tissue, including under the arm, lower lymph nodes, outer breast tissue, clavicle and inner breast tissue — providing a complete breast health picture.
- What is the average-size cancer detected with ultrasound screening? Clinical studies show that SonoCiné whole breast ultrasound, combined with a mammogram, can detect cancers as small as 5mm — the size of a pea.
- Just how successful are ultrasound screenings at detecting breast cancer? When combined with a mammogram, clinical studies show SonoCiné whole breast ultrasound is 100 percent more effective than mammography alone in women with dense breasts and 200 percent more effective in finding cancers under 10mm.
- Are the images of the breast still photos or a moving video? What are the benefits of moving video? SonoCiné whole breast ultrasound is the only breast screening tool to use a continuous moving image to view the breast. In an ultrasound, abnormalities in breast tissue show up as dark spots as opposed to white spots in a mammogram. As the radiologist views the movie of the breast tissue, a dark abnormality is easily visible — it “pops” against the image of the dense breast tissue. The radiologist can stop, move forward and move backward to study the abnormality and determine if further diagnostic tests are needed.
Remember, early detection greatly increases breast cancer survival. So if you are age 40 or older, doctors recommend yearly mammograms. To find out if you have dense breast tissue, talk to your doctor or the technologist during your mammogram screening. Note that dense breast tissue is not related to breast size but rather the composition of the breast.