Mammogram or scan

I had breast cancer several years ago which didn’t show on mammogram but lump could be seen and felt. My breast are small and the lump was on the edge, close to my armpit so it couldn’t physically be placed in the mammogram plates. I was then given an ultrasound scan and biopsy which diagnosed the cancer.
I have been told I have dense breasts and with being so small I wondered if an ultrasound would be better for me to have than a mammogram when I get checked?

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Hi ellie5

Thanks for posting.

As your cancer did not show up on mammograms when you were diagnosed, it’s natural to wonder if ultrasound would be a better test for you.

It’s not clear what kind of follow up you’ve had in the time since your breast cancer but follow up is usually with annual mammograms. You would not usually be offered other tests such as ultrasound unless you had symptoms that need checking. Any exception to this would be considered on a case by case basis depending on your personal situation, and may take into account your breast density. Breast MRI scan rather than breast ultrasound, in addition to mammograms, is sometimes suggested if additional screening is considered necessary.

We would suggest that you contact your treatment team to discuss your situation. If you have had a recent clear mammogram but you have concerns about a breast change we would encourage you to get this checked by your treatment team. If you have been discharged from the breast team, you can talk to your GP about this.

Talking to someone who has had a similar experience can often be helpful. Our Someone Like Me service can match you with a trained volunteer who’s had a similar experience to you. You can be in touch with your volunteer by phone or email and they can share their personal experiences to answer your questions, offer support or simply listen to how you are feeling. You can ring the Someone Like Me team on 0114 263 6490 or email them at, so they can then match you to your volunteer.

Do call our helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. The helpline team have time to listen, talk things through and signpost you to more support and information if necessary. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks. The number is 0808 800 6000, (Relay UK -prefix 18001).

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Best wishes


Breast Care Nurse

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