While most people have heard of mammography for early breast cancer detection, there are new innovations available in the radiology field, including elastography. While mammograms can detect many lesions, cysts and tumors, they may miss some smaller masses. Also, there are differences in the makeup of benign and malignant tumors that cannot always be seen using mammography alone. Adding an elastography scan can help detect some lesions that are not caught on a mammogram and offer insight to the type of tumor.
Elastography uses ultrasonography to examine tissue, detecting differences in the stiffness of the tissue. Malignant or cancerous tissue is usually stiffer than healthy tissue, or less elastic. An elastography used along with mammography to view lumps in the breast can offer a higher resolution of visual results. Elastography may detect small lesions that are missed on a conventional mammogram, allowing for quicker response and treatment for malignant tumors.
Another benefit of using elastography in tandem with a mammogram when analyzing breast lumps is to diagnose benign lesions without biopsy. Since elastography can be used to detect malignant tissue, it can often be used to pronounce any lesions as most likely benign. In many cases a needle biopsy will not be needed to test a lesion for cancerous cells, offering a much less invasive option in ruling a tumor benign.
If you are seeking a mammogram to investigate the possibility of breast cancer, consider choosing a radiology clinic that offers elastography along with conventional or 3D mammography. This additional option may give your doctor clearer, more decisive imaging to view any lesions in your breasts. Early detection of breast cancer offers the best scenario in fighting this deadly disease.
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