Each year one in 12 women is diagnosed with breast cancer. Doctors encourage yearly screenings. But there are times when patients receive a mammogram and a breast ultrasound.
Dr. Priyanka Handa, a radiologist on the medical staff of Lee Health, says at age 40 it’s important for women to have a mammogram. “These are the years that are the lifesaving years, we have young children at home, and we are part of the work force --that is when we need to be screened.”
Screening for breast cancer starts with a mammogram but can also include a breast ultrasound. “One big difference is you’re going to be squeezed in any sort of mammogram 2D or 3D that’s just the way it is. You lie back for an ultra sound. There is zero radiation in an ultrasound. You lie back and the technician takes pictures of your breasts,” said Dr. Handa.
A mammogram is typically a 2D machine that takes pictures of the breast tissue. “This is going to show at the levels of grains of sand and that’s important to know. We are going to start feeling it when it’s the size of a pea, an olive, or maybe a grape size lesion and that really changes the management,” said Dr. Handa.
If doctors find anything suspicious during a mammogram, they may call the patient back for a breast ultrasound. There, a technician will use an ultrasound machine to get a closer look at the area of concern. “It’s usually a question answering tool. It’s more of a problem solving modality rather than a screening modality,” said Dr. Handa.
Experts say the goal is to find breast cancer early before it develops and spreads. “If you’re feeling it, if it’s gone to your lymph nodes, we’re at later and later stages. I think the goal is, and I think we’ll see this in our life time, is we find it early and get it taken out with no big deal,” said Dr. Handa.
To get there, experts say women need to know their bodies and make sure they are getting yearly mammograms after the age of 40.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.