Mammograms are the most popular women's imaging scan, but certain factors may infer that another imaging scan may be best. For women that are at higher risk or with dense breasts, alternative women's imaging methods like ultrasound has proven to be best according to various studies. Let's take a closer look at why ultrasound is often best when screening dense breasts.
An Ultrasound Study
A study in Connecticut recently studied the effectiveness of screening breast ultrasounds as compared to mammography to help us understand this difference more clearly. By following seven radiology practices in Connecticut over two years, the study found that women with 50% breast density of greater had a clearer reading on a screening breast ultrasound. The screening breast ultrasounds detected an additional 3.4 cancers per one thousand woman screened. That means, of the 19,745 women who participated in the study, about 67 lives were potentially saved by the screening ultrasound.
Over the two years, the researchers noted an increase in sensitivity from 96.6% to 100% and specificity from 94% to 96%. The researchers expect to see even more increase in the years to come.
Dense Breast Screening Methods
So what does this mean? Using these scans, physicians can more easily determine which lesions are benign and malignant. Connecticut now mandates a breast density record on mammograms and recommends follow-ups for women with more than 50% breast density. What do they recommend? Screening breast ultrasounds.
While mammograms are suggested for all women, breast ultrasounds are recommended for women who may be at a higher risk for breast cancer. Ultrasound is able to create more detailed images of breast tissue and lumps. If you're in need of a women's imaging scan, we offer mammograms, ultrasounds, and breast MRI's at our center.