Routinely performed breast self-exams alone are not sufficient to detect breast tumours. Tumours detected by the doctor or the patient are usually larger than 2 centimeters. The ultrasound screening of the breast is a painless procedure which can detect breast tumour and other abnormalities. A huge advantage of the ultrasound screening is that the organism is not exposed to radiation, thus it can be repeated on several occasions. In certain cases, the ultrasound screening of the breast can provide more detailed information about breast abnormalities detected by physical check-up or mammography.
Who is recommended to take the ultrasound screening?
- All women aged 18 or more on a yearly basis as regular screening
- Women using birth control pills or other pills containing hormones
- Women with breast implant
- Essential before aesthetic surgery
- In case of any physical abnormality detected (a palpable lump, a mass, a change in the size of the skin color of the breast, nipple abnormality, nipple discharge)
- Regular screening is recommended for those with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, because in such cases the risk of both tumours can be higher than average. (In case of cumulative family history of the disease a testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation is also recommended.)
- The ultrasound has a key role in the examination of the breast which is dense and consists of glands (three quarters of women between 20 and 40 have such breasts)
What kind of abnormalities can be detected by ultrasound breast screening?
Benign tumours (such as fibroadenoma), cystic (fluid filled) or solid (tissue) lumps, or certain types of malignant tumours. Pathological (inflamed or tumorous) lymph nodes and milk shafts can be detected. Furthermore, it is used to detect scars or fluid collections (haematoma, seroma, abscess) after operations.
The procedure of breast examination
- 1. Anamnesis-case history
- Detection of complaints, assessment of symptoms
- Compiling a family anamnesis
- Assessment of previous breast examination diagnoses
- 2. Physical examination
- Inspection of the breasts (differences in shape, rashes, other skin changes, checking if the nipple or the skin is turned inwards, nipple discharge)
- Touching the breast, checking for abnormal changes. Teaching self-exam.
- 3. Ultrasound diagnostics
- Checking both breasts from several directions with high-resolution ultra sound device. Checking the lymph areas on both sides.
- Assessment of the abnormalities.
- 4. Consultation, diagnosis, therapeutic recommendations.
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