Mammogram vs. Ultrasound: What’s The Difference and Which One Should I Get?



Here’s the thing about breast cancer screenings, there’s no one-size fits all solution or approach. It really depends on doctor recommendations and a combination of factors like age and medical and family history.

Medical professionals use a combination of options to detect cancers when they are most treatable in the early stages.

The key is to get evaluated for your personal risks, it’s the most efficient way to know which type of screening will best serve you.

What Is a Mammogram?

A mammogram is one of the most common screening tools for breast cancer.

Mammograms use diagnostic imaging tests and X-rays to detect lumps and abnormalities in the breast tissue, they’re usually recommended at the age of 50.

Mammograms have the ability to detect signs of breast cancer up to three years before the tumor becomes visible.

The benefits of mammograms vary based on age and risk levels. The only way to truly know if the mammogram is the most effective screening type is through doctor evaluation.

What Happens During a Breast Mammogram?

During a mammogram, breast tissues are compressed and photographed for inspection by a doctor.

The mammogram screening procedure starts by resting your breasts on a plate. A second plate is positioned at chest level and pushes flat against the breasts to compress them while the x-ray machine gets an image.

Images are taken of all sides of the breasts.

After your mammogram is complete, screening results will come back as either normal or abnormal. A normal screening means that there are no signs of lumps or tumors in the breasts.

An abnormal screening does not mean that it’s time to panic, it just means there will be more follow up screenings to determine what the abnormality is.

What Is a Breast Ultrasound?

Ultrasounds are used to detect lumps present in the breasts. They’re early diagnostic tools used to see if lumps are benign or malignant.

Ultrasounds are necessary when experiencing breast tissue changes or when a lump has been detected in the breast.

Imaging with an ultrasound uses sound waves to create a picture of what’s going on inside the breast tissue.

What Happens During a Breast Ultrasound?

Ultrasounds are usually done using a transducer, a hand-held wand-like medical instrument.

A protective gel is put on the skin and the transducer is moved around capturing images of the inner breast tissue.

Does Breast Size Matter?

A common misconception is that ladies with smaller breasts are less susceptible to breast cancer. This is a total myth. All boobies are created equally and all breast sizes need mammograms eventually and could need an ultrasound if recommended by a doctor.

Which One is Better?

The answer is… There is no answer! Neither is “better” than the other. Only a doctor can tell you what you need after a thorough evaluation, and sometimes both a mammogram and an ultrasound can be used as part of a series of screening tests.

At Bellabeat, we work to compile all the information we can to spread awareness to our users. Have more questions? Contact a medical professional.

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