American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Breast Ultrasound

Ultrasound uses sound waves to show pictures of the breast. Ultrasound can show the difference between fluid-filled cysts (usually not cancerous) and tumors. Ultrasound does not use radiation. It may be used for women with dense breasts and during pregnancy to reduce exposure to X rays.

Breast Ultrasound

Keeping You Informed

About 40 percent of breast cancer is found by women who feel a lump. Doing breast self-exams on a regular schedule is important.22

Mammography correctly finds breast cancer in about 87 of 100 women.23

Less than 10 percent of those called back for rescreening after mammography will need a biopsy. These biopsies show evidence of a breast tumor in 20 percent of these patients. This means that most women who are called back for rescreening will not have breast cancer.24

An ultrasound helps locate small, invasive, node-negative cancers.25 It is also used for women with dense breasts. It is more difficult to see breast tissue clearly on a mammogram in women with dense breasts. Half of all women under the age of 50 have dense breasts, and ultrasound may be recommended. Density decreases with age, and about 33 percent of women over 50 have dense breasts.24