Breast Lump Felt? Should You Have a Mammogram? Ultrasound? or Breast Exam?

If you feel a breast lump, you should also let your gyno do what is called a clinical breast exam. Studies show that 50-70% of masses felt by the patient or on a physical exam are actually not not seen on mammogram. If  thiis seems confusing remember that on an x ray test, which a mammogram is, only structures which hav3e different shaddow densities will show up. So in breast tissue, which may be on the lumpy side anyway, you may have a mass that is not seen on the mammogram. This is not worrisome per se, but it means the mammogram may not accurately predict what the mass is, so it may be a reason your gyno would recommend a breast biopsy. Ultrasound has been said to be is more accurate than mammogram in young women (those under age 25) and in very dense breasts ultrasound may be more accurate for finding cancers, and the right answer...as to which test you need, has to be decided by your gyno, as based on what is felt, and what other symptoms you have, how long the mass in your breast has really been there, and your medications (are you on the pill?) and your family history (any breast cancer in your family) as well as your personal history (have you already had a mass biopsied). For our practice at Women's Health Practice we use ultrasounds as a primary screen if a patient refuses or cannot get a mammogram. Halo Breast Paps are screens as well. See your Gyno and many women need a combination of these examinations! 95% of breast cancers start in the breast ducts, and that's the cells these tests are after.

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