Which is better for diagnosing breast cancer, a mammogram or sonogram? I recently read an article by Dr. Robert L. Bard concerning the regiment options for breast cancer screening comparing mammography to sonograms. Dr. Bard states in his article that both should be used especially for women with dense breasts.
According to Dr. Bard, “The current standard in screening for breast cancer is mammography. However, this imaging tool misses some breast tumors, especially in women with dense breasts. Published data suggests that sonography can play an important role in detecting tumors that mammography misses. In fact, over 94% of cancers seen only on ultrasound were invasive tumors with average size of 10 mm, and in the studies where staging was detailed, 91% were node negative, meaning it had not spread and complete cure was possible due to early detection.”
I am living proof that both methods should be used for women with dense breasts. Although my mammogram cited microcalcifications in my right breast, it did not detect the invasive tumor in my left. Were it not for the diligence of my nurse practitioner at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, my prognosis could have been drastically different.
When I sought treatment at the Dana, she requested a sonogram for further examination of my left breast. Since I had very dense breast tissue, she was concerned that the mammogram might not be 100% effective. This sonogram would prove to save my life as it revealed a 2 cm invasive tumor. Had I not had the sonogram, my treatment would have been a lumpectomy of the right breast. With the discovery of the tumor in the left, and my non-invasive “mirror” cancer in the right, my treatment evolved from lumpectomy to double mastectomy.
I am including the following link to a table comparing Sonogram screening to Mammography: