As we all know, breast cancer still affects millions of women worldwide and early detection is the key. If we have already had this conversation, you know I have chosen to never have a mammogram. And yes, I fully acknowledge that mammograms have saved countless lives but in my research for the healthiest, best way to detect breast cancer early, mammogram, for me,
is not it.
This weekend we will be hosting another HerScan event and I wanted to share with you what I know and encourage you to do your own research so you can make a totally informed choice of which method of breast cancer detection is best for you. And to be clear, we do not get paid to host these mobile breast screenings. We really believe it should be an easily accessible option for those who are informed and choose ultrasound over mammogram or thermogram.
While mammography and thermography are well-known methodsfor breast cancer screening, ultrasound has emerged as a powerful tool that surpasses both. Here are the details and why ultrasound for breast cancer screening is often considered superior, backed by statistics, especially concerning false positives.
1. High Accuracy with Fewer False Positives
One of the most compelling reasons I favor breast ultrasoundover mammography and thermography is its accuracy, particularly in reducing false positives. False positives occur when a screening test suggests the presence of cancer when there is none and according to the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen, mammograms can produce false-positive results in about 17% of cases. This means that 10-17 out of every 100 women without breast cancer may be falsely alerted to a potential issue which then can result in additional mammograms (and radiation each time), unnecessary biopsies and procedures that come with their own risks and trauma. In contrast, breast ultrasound offers a lower rate of false positives, reducing unnecessary anxiety and follow-up procedures.
2. Ideal for Dense Breast Tissue
Dense breast tissue can pose a challenge for mammography because it can hide potential abnormalities. Women with dense breasts are often recommended to undergo additional imaging, such as ultrasound. Research has shown that ultrasound is especially effective in detecting breast cancers in dense breast tissue, making it a valuable complement to mammography. In fact, a ultrasound to mammography increased cancer detection rates by 35%. AndI ask, “If this is what comes after a mammogram to see things clearer and
increases my detstudy published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that adding
ection rate 35%, without radiation and all the discomfort and trauma to my breast, why in the world wouldn’t I do that in the first place?”
3. Radiation-Free and Safe
Mammography relies on ionizing radiation to capture imagesof the breast tissue. Although the radiation dose is relatively low and considered safe, some individuals may have concerns about exposure, especially if they require frequent screenings. Ultrasound, on the other hand, is entirely radiation-free, making it a safe and suitable option for pregnant women and
those worried about radiation exposure.
4. Versatile and Non-Invasive
Ultrasound is a versatile imaging technique that relies onsound waves create a dynamic view of the breast tissue in real-time. It allows radiologists to visualize blood flow, distinguish between solid masses and fluid-filled cysts, and precisely locate abnormalities. This versatility and
non-invasiveness make ultrasound a valuable tool for both screening and diagnostic purposes, without radiation.
5. Reducing Anxiety and Unnecessary Biopsies
False positives generated by mammography and thermography leadto unnecessary biopsies and emotional distress. And none of us needs more unnecessary stress. Breast ultrasound helps mitigate this issue by providing more specific information about the nature of an abnormality. This can reduce the need for invasive procedures and the accompanying anxiety.
including their age, breast density, family history, andpersonal preferences. The goal is to strike a balance between early cancerdetection and minimizing unnecessary tests or interventions.
6. Thermography Limitations
Thermography, also known asthermal imaging, captures infrared images of the breasts to measure the temperature variations in the tissue. It is based on the idea that cancerous
tissue may produce slightly more heat than normal tissue due to increased blood
flow. Thermography does not use ionizing radiation, making it a radiation-free
imaging method. This aspect makes it appealing to many people. But it does have
limitations and too many potential variables to be considered a stand-alonescreening tool for breast cancer.
- Sensitivity and Specificity: Thermography may not reliably detect all breast cancers,
and it can produce false-positive and false-negative results.
- Lack of Anatomic Detail: Thermography does not provide detailed images of
breast anatomy or pinpoint the location of abnormalities, which can limit
its usefulness for diagnosis and localization of tumors.
- Variability: Factors such as room temperature and the timing of the examination can
influence thermographic results, leading to variability.
All this said, Mammography and breast ultrasound remain themainstays for breast cancer screening and detection. Mammograms have a well-established track record for detecting breast cancer at early andtreatable stages. In cases where there are concerns about radiation exposure or for individuals with dense breast tissue, breast ultrasound is ideal, but it Is
essential for you to do your own research. Be informed and talk to your doctor.
Of course, this is for educational purposes only and not medical advice.
Here's to a life time of healthy beautiful Tatas!