What is the difference between a mammogram and a breast ultrasound?

Most women know that starting at a certain age it is very important to have regular breast examinations. Prevention always plays a prominent role, but there are diseases that detect in time the existence of cancer cells and put a rapid treatment change completely the same. This occurs, for example, in the case of breast cancer.

In addition to the examination that gynecologists perform in consultation, diagnostic tests are also fundamental as a method of screening, to know if everything is in perfect condition or need to be alerted for some reason. The most common are breast ultrasound and mammography. But is the difference between the two known?

breast ultrasound

What is mammography?

Each one has its peculiarities. The most commonly used for the early detection of breast cancer is mammography, both for asymptomatic women and those with lumps, nipple discharge or sagging. It is a technique that, with minimal radiation, shows images of the inside of the woman's breasts. It is so effective that it can show changes in the breast long before the doctor or patient notices it.

Although the protocol in public health talks about starting to perform mammograms from the age of 50, it is recommended that women in the 40s do this test each year. Obviously, women with a history of breast or ovarian cancer must begin screening before that age.

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The best time to get a mammogram is one week after you have had the period. This prevents days when the breasts are more swollen and tender. It is also important to carry the tests performed in previous years so that the radiologist can compare if the breast has undergone some variation.

How is a mammogram performed?

This test, which is done on an outpatient basis, is a bit annoying for most women. During it, the doctor or the ray technician places the breast in the mammography unit and compresses it gradually. In this way, it is achieved that all the tissues are seen, lengthening them so that no hidden area remains. In addition, the fact that the breast remains firm and immobile makes the image appear clearer.

The data are very positive. Mammograms prevent 30% of breast cancer deaths because they allow the doctor to see small tumors and put a rapid treatment. Years ago, printed X-ray images were saved, but now in most hospitals or medical centers digital files are used, making comparisons with previous tests easier. However, you should know that not all breast cancers are seen on a mammogram.

What is a breast ultrasound?

Breast ultrasound is a test that examines the breasts by ultrasound. Through a small device, called a transducer, the doctor can see the image of the patient's breasts. By itself, this test is not usually sent as a test for the detection of cancer, but as a complement. However, in women with dense breasts, with less adipose tissue, the inclusion of an ultrasound in the protocol improves the detection of this disease.

It is a painless test that does not need any preparation, although it is usually recommended not to use any moisturizing lotion in the area or deodorant. This test is very effective in finding small tumors that have not yet spread to the lymph nodes. It allows distinguishing between a solid mass and a cyst and helps to find a tumor when the nipple produces clear secretions or with blood. It is also a method that is used in case a breast biopsy is necessary, acting as a guide.

Depending on the age, the gynecologist usually sends one or the other. For women, under 40 years of age, this study is used since the breasts are denser. In fact, most breast lumps in young women are benign cysts or normal glandular tissue that appears headed. The breasts of older women have more fat and are easier to evaluate through a mammogram.

The importance of self-exploration

These two tests are fundamental to early detection, but it is also very important that women know how to self- scan. Each month it is important to look in the mirror for a few minutes and check if the breasts have changed in size, shape or color or if they have any type of deformity. It is necessary to do it with the arms in rest and also with them raised. Then lie down and feel each breast with the opposite and extended hand and the tips of the fingers, in a firm and soft. The movement must be small and circular. It is also necessary to do it from top to bottom and from left to right, from the clavicle to the upper abdomen and from the armpit to the cleavage. It is also important to perform seated or standing exploration.

If you notice something different in your breasts when doing the self-exploration, do not wait and make an appointment with the gynecologist to study your case in depth. More Health Reviews on http://apporello.com/.

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