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Mammograms and ultrasounds - the difference?

3 REPLIES 3
Guest user
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Re: Mammograms and ultrasounds - the difference?

The biopsy is the only way to tell for sure what a lump is.

I was diagnosed at a one-stop clinic in the city: the idea is you see the specialist doctor early in the day who takes a fine needle aspiration of the lump, and that goes off to the lab immediately, then you go on a tour round the hospital for a mammogram and ultrasound, you hang around a while (i found the WVRS canteen that became a permanent favourite during the next year) then back to the doctor and by that time the needle aspirate has been looked at under microscope and you should get a definitive diagnosis that day. That's the idea, but my aspirate was rubbish, was "inconclusive" and so they did a punch biopsy too (ouch!) and left me waiting another week to tell me yes, it was cancer and I should start taking these tablets today. That extra week was a nightmare of What-if's. Cos I had sneaked a look at the x-ray (they gave it me to take back with me!) and I'm not blind, I could see a large white blob one side so I knew there was something badly not right.

Positive news is that 90% of lumps are not cancer, and they are suggesting that includes yours, but they still want to know what it is instead so they can treat it.

Hoping you get that good news soon, do keep us posted.

Guest user
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Re: Mammograms and ultrasounds - the difference?

Thanks for your reply. I always thought, and your comment suggests the same, that ultrasound show up more than monograms. Therefore I'm confused why they couldn't see anything on the ultrasound but could on the 2,mammograms. As I said, they said this was positive new but didn't explain why AND if it war positive news why I had to have a biopsy five as well.

Guest user
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Re: Mammograms and ultrasounds - the difference?

Mammograms use x-rays so they particularly show up areas that are calcified which, in an area like the breast, not meant to have bones in it, can indicate cancer. Or TB, or various other things.

Ultrasound uses sound waves and primarily shows a difference in density, so it is showing another aspect of what's inside you. A calcified area will probably have an altered density and show on ultrasound, but there are other things like fibroids that don't show on xray.

One reason they sometimes use ultrasound instead of x-ray in younger women is that they tend to have denser breasts that makes it hard to get a good x-ray. I'm not sure but I think having denser breasts than ususal for your age is a risk factor in itself for BC, not just that it makes it harder to diagnose.

Waiting around for results is horrible, especially when you know there is something unusual and they won't explain what it is. We have all of us been through this bit whatever the outcome, 90% of lumps are not cancer, and I do think it's really the hardest time. Try if you can to get right away from thinking about it for now and have yourself some fun over the weekend.

Guest user
Not applicable

Mammograms and ultrasounds - the difference?

Hi all,

My routine mammogram showed up an abnormal mass on one of my breasts. I cannot feel or see anything different. I was sent to the hospital for a 2nd mammogram which showed the same.

They then did a ultrasound but couldn't find the area of concern. They told me this was a positive thing to happen as it meant that it was unlikely to be anything bad.

However to be sure, they done a biopsy which I now have to wait 2 weeks for the results.

I am really confused to what this all means. How can something show up on a mammogram and then not an ultrasound and how does this go in my favour?

Hope someone can shed sound light on this as just been left feeling feeling more confused and anxious than before I went.

Thanks!