Breast Cancer – How do we Detect it?

     Owing to the fact that mammograms are not always fully reliable when it comes to detecting breast cancers, many alternative screenings in addition to regular mammographies have been researched. The most popular researched studies are breast MRI and Ultrasounds. Also, although Ultrasounds finds a couple more cancers than mammography alone when used together, the PPV is only like 10%- very poor. Hopefully with the additional impedance data, Ultrasounds will become more specific.[1] When administered in conjunction with mammography, breast ultrasounds detect more cancers in dense breasts than in mammography alone.[2] Ultrasound sends high frequency sound waves through the tissue which produces an image of the tissue, and it does not use radiation, making adverse effects virtually none.[3] Rather than using attenuation like x-rays, ultrasounds use acoustic properties of tissue to detect abnormalities. Since mammograms and ultrasound use different methods of detection, they can pick up different types of masses. Therefore, they are best paired together, particularly in women with dense breasts. 


[1] Adding 3-D Mammography or Ultrasound to Regular Screening Finds More Cancers in Dense Breasts. (2016, March 18). Retrieved January 01,2017, from
[2] Ibid.
[3] Johns Hopkins. (2016).Breast Ultrasound. Retrieved January 01,2017,from,p077641/
[4} Ibid.


Author 1: Tessa Miller

Author 2: Rudy Lin, MD





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