Ultrasound screening can play a crucial role in the fight against breast cancer as the technology is capable as mammograms in detecting the disease in women with dense breasts, a new study suggested.
The extensive study led by Pittsburgh researcher Wendie A. Berg revealed that ultrasound screening detected as many cases of breast cancer as mammogram screening in women with dense breasts.
Berg, a physician in radiology department at Magee-Womens Hospital who led the American College of Radiology Imaging Network’s protocol 6666 breast cancer screening study, reached the conclusion after studying cases of 2,662 women in the U.S., Canada and Argentina. Participants underwent three annual breast screenings via ultrasound and digital mammography before having a biopsy or twelve-month follow-up examination.
However, the lead researcher said one should not expect an ultrasound instead of a mammogram any time soon. He stressed that ultrasound screens should be used only as a complementary test for women with dense breast tissue.
Sharing the findings of the study, the researcher said, “Where mammography is available, ultrasound should be seen as a supplemental test for women with dense breasts who do not meet high-risk criteria for screening MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and for high-risk women with dense breasts who are unable to tolerate MRI.”
The study, which published this week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute Mammography, also noted that ultrasounds use sound waves and mammograms use low-dose X-rays to examine breast tissue.