A mammogram (a combination of X-ray images of the breast) is a routine part of a breast cancer screening program. Physicians agree that breast palpation programs (physically checking for lumps) are generally insufficient for early breast cancer detection.
Breast self examination programs are also unreliable as a lesion can develop for years before it becomes palpable. Of course, when a family physician finds a bump or a lump of some kind on a clinical exam, he/she will immediately refer the patient for a mammogram. Women with higher than average risk factors and older women should generally have mammograms more frequently.
Normally, the X-ray component of a mammogram is all that is necessary for breast cancer screening purposes. So, an ultrasound is typically a ‘second look’ type of application. However, it is not a good idea to have an ultrasound instead of a mammogram and it is probably best to follow the advice of the screening physicians.
Article by Steven Halls of Moose & Doc Breast Cancer
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