Which Doctor To Consult For Breast Pain


Which Doctor To Consult For Breast Pain
5. Breast pain or lumps – A mammogram or breast ultrasound is almost always needed to diagnose if a breast pain or a breast lump is serious, but Dr. Peakes says that your gynecologist can help evaluate you in the meantime and help you know the urgency of getting breast imaging.

What doctor do you see if you suspect breast cancer?

Consulting with your health care team – Women with breast cancer may have appointments with their primary care doctors as well as several other doctors and health professionals, including:

Breast health specialists Breast surgeons Doctors who specialize in diagnostic tests, such as mammograms (radiologists) Doctors who specialize in treating cancer (oncologists) Doctors who treat cancer with radiation (radiation oncologists) Genetic counselors Plastic surgeons

When should I see a doctor for breast pain?

When to see a doctor – Make an appointment with your doctor if breast pain:

Continues daily for more than a couple of weeks Occurs in one specific area of your breast Seems to be getting worse over time Interferes with daily activities Awakens you from sleep

Breast cancer risk is very low in people whose main symptom is breast pain, but if your doctor recommends an evaluation, it’s important to follow through.

What is another name for breast specialist?

Medical Definition of Breast surgeon Breast surgeon: Usually a general surgeon who is especially skilled in operating on the breast. A breast surgeon may biopsy a tumor in the breast and, if it is malignant, remove the tumor. A breast surgeon may also do breast reconstruction following a mastectomy for breast cancer.

Can I ask GP to check my breasts for cancer?

Tips for telephone appointments – You might have a telephone appointment with your GP instead of a face to face. You can watch a video with top tips for phone and digital appointments with your doctor. The video lasts 1 minute and 43 seconds. If you notice a change that isn’t normal for you, contact your doctor.

Roughly when the doctor will call you That they have the right telephone number for you And what number the doctor will call you from What to do if you can’t connect or get cut off during the call Let them know if you might have problems with phone or video

Try practicing a call with a friend or family member. Make sure you are close to the phone or computer around the time of the appointment, so you don’t miss the call. Before the call write down your symptoms and when they started, how often you have them and if anything makes them better or worse so you have all the info your doctor might need.

  1. Write down any questions you want to ask as well.
  2. Take the call somewhere quiet, where you won’t be disturbed.
  3. And maybe ask someone to listen into the call with you for support.
  4. They can help to ask questions and help you to remember what the doctor says.
  5. Tell your doctor if you are worried about cancer and ask them to explain anything you don’t understand and about what will happen next.

You could write down the information, so you don’t forget. Remember if your symptoms don’t go away or get worse contact your doctor again. Get more advice at CRUK.org/spotcancerearly

Can breast pain be cancerous?

Pain – Although most breast cancers do not cause pain in the breast or nipple, some do. More often, women have breast pain or discomfort related to their menstrual cycle. Also, some non-cancer breast conditions, such as mastitis, may cause a more sudden pain.

What happens when you see a breast specialist?

The surgeon will meet with you and discuss your concerns, medical history, breast history, and family history. Then the doctor will step out ask you to change into a gown for the breast exam. The breast exam may or may not include an ultrasound of the breast at that time.

What is a breast disease?

A group of conditions marked by changes in breast tissue that are benign (not cancer). There are different types of benign breast disease, including some types caused by an increase in the number of cells or by the growth of abnormal cells in the breast ducts or lobes.

What is the medical term for breast exam?

0″ aria-label=”Table of Content” ref=”nav”> A clinical breast exam (CBE) is a physical exam of the breasts and the underarm area by a trained healthcare professional. If you tell your doctor about a lump or change in your breasts, you may have a CBE. Your doctor or another trained healthcare professional may also do it as part of your regular physical exam. Men who find a lump or a change in their breasts should also have a CBE. You don’t need to do anything special to prepare for a CBE. The same CBE technique is used for women with breast implants. You will remove your clothing from the waist up. A sheet or gown covers you while you’re on the examination table. First the healthcare professional looks at the breasts. This should be done with you sitting, and then when you are lying down. The healthcare professional looks for:

changes or differences in the shape of the breasts areas of fullness or thickness in only one breast differences in skin colour, temperature and texture in the breasts, such as redness, increased warmth or dimpling of the skin rashes visible lumps or swelling fluid, or discharge, leaking from the nipple nipple changes, such as a nipple starting to point inward (called inverted) or scaling

Next the healthcare professional feels, or palpates, the breasts and the nipples. This is done with you lying down, which flattens the breast tissue over the chest wall. Breast tissue covers a large area. It goes from the middle of the chest into the armpit and up toward the collarbone and deep inside to the muscles of the chest wall.

lumps, including their size, shape and whether or not they move within the tissue hardening or thickening in the breast tissue tenderness or pain

The healthcare professional will also feel A small, bean-shaped mass of lymphatic tissue along lymph vessels (tubes through which lymph fluid travels in the body). Lymph nodes store lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell that fights germs, foreign substances or cancer cells) and filters bacteria and foreign substances (including cancer cells) from lymph fluid. “>lymph nodes in the underarm area (called the axilla) and in the area above and below the collarbone for any lumps or hardening. The healthcare professional will talk to you about anything that is found and let you know if you need to have more tests.

Foxson SB, Lattimer JG & Felder B, Breast cancer. Yarbro, CH, Wujcki D, & Holmes Gobel B. (eds.). Cancer Nursing: Principles and Practice,7th ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett; 2011: 48: pp.1091-1145. Mills S, Performing a clinical breast exam. Nursing,2013.

Our enewsletter Enter your email to receive occasional news and important updates!

What is Stage 1 breast cancer?

Treatment – The number staging helps your doctor decide which treatment you need. Treatment also depends on:

You might be interested:  Can Lemon Water Cure Uti

the type of cells the cancer started in whether your cancer cells have receptors for particular cancer drugs the grade of the cancer whether you have had the menopause other health conditions you may have

Your doctor will take many different factors into account when deciding which treatment is best for you. Surgery is the usual treatment for stage 1 breast cancer. There are different types of surgery you might have:

surgery to remove just the cancer a border of normal breast tissue around it. This is called breast conserving surgery or a wide local excision. surgery to remove the whole breast (mastectomy). You can then choose to have a new breast made (a breast reconstruction).

What are Stage 3 symptoms of breast cancer?

Stage 3 breast cancer symptoms Symptoms with stage 3 breast cancer may include: Changes to the skin of the breast, including dimpling, redness or other color changes, scaliness or open sores. A lump or swelling in the breast or armpit.

How long can you have breast cancer without knowing?

How long does it take for breast cancer to grow? My doctor just examined my breasts a month ago (no lumps), and today I found a lump. Is it possible that breast cancer could have developed so quickly? – Answer from the expert staff of breast cancer research at the Robert W.

  • Franz Cancer Research Center at Providence Portland Medical Center: Like a lot of cancers, breast cancer grows by simple cell division.
  • It begins as one malignant cell, which then divides and becomes two bad cells, which divide again and become four bad cells, and so on.
  • Breast cancer has to divide 30 times before it can be felt.

Up to the 28th cell division, neither you nor your doctor can detect it by hand. With most breast cancers, each division takes one to two months, so by the time you can feel a cancerous lump, the cancer has been in your body for two to five years. It can certainly seem like a lump appeared out of nowhere – especially if you or your doctor have recently examined your breasts and not felt anything suspicious – but in reality, the cancer has simply doubled that one last time necessary to be noticeable.

By the time you can feel it, a breast tumor is usually a little more than one-half inch in size – about a third the size of a golf ball. It has also been in your body long enough to have had a chance to spread. This sounds scary, but what it really underscores is the importance of regular mammograms. These screening tests can usually detect breast cancer when it’s about one-quarter inch in size or smaller – a year or more before it would be detectable by hand.

Mammograms also make possible the early diagnosis of some pre-cancerous conditions and early-stage cancers that appear as tiny calcifications (microcalcifications) on mammography, but aren’t detectable by physical examination. It’s important to realize that there are two types of mammograms:

A screening mammogram is performed in cases where there isn’t any known problem. This type of mammogram is used for annual exams. A diagnostic mammogram is performed when there is a known problem that requires careful evaluation. Diagnostic mammograms provide much more extensive images than screening mammograms, such as views from additional angles and compression, or blow-up, views. Often an ultrasound will be done in addition to the mammogram if there is a palpable lump. Make sure you receive a diagnostic mammogram if you’ve found a lump.

Once a breast cancer gets big, every doubling is significant. If you find a lump, see your doctor as soon as possible. Don’t settle for just a mammogram if the mammogram doesn’t find anything. The next step should be a screening ultrasound, and if those results are indeterminate you need to get a biopsy.

How can I test myself for breast cancer?

3) Lying Down – When lying down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around your right breast gently covering the entire breast area and armpit.

Should I see my GP about breast pain?

There are many reasons breasts can be painful. It’s not usually anything serious, but see a GP if the pain does not improve.

Why is my left breast painful?

Most women experience some form of breast pain at one time or another. Breast pain is typically easy to treat, but on rarer occasions it can be a sign of something more serious. Medical director of the Suburban Hospital Breast Center Pamela Wright, M.D,, discusses the most common causes of breast pain (mastalgia), their treatments and when to see a doctor:

  1. Hormones are making your breasts sore. Hormonal fluctuations are the number one reason women have breast pain. Breasts become sore three to five days prior to the beginning of a menstrual period and stop hurting after it starts. This is due to a rise in estrogen and progesterone right before your period. These hormones cause your breasts to swell and can lead to tenderness. “It’s normal to have breast tenderness that comes and goes around the time of your period,” says Wright. “It’s nothing to worry about.” If you become pregnant, your breasts may remain sore during the first trimester as hormone production ramps up. Breast tenderness is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy for many women. Steps you can take to minimize sore breasts include:
    • Eliminate caffeine
    • Eat a low-fat diet
    • Reduce salt intake
    • Avoid smoking
    • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever
    • Ask your doctor if switching birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy medications may help
  2. You have a breast injury. Like any part of your body, breasts can be injured. This can happen because of an accident, while playing sports or from breast surgery. You may feel a sharp, shooting pain at the time of injury. Tenderness can linger for a few days up to several weeks after trauma to the breast. See your doctor if the pain doesn’t improve or you notice any of these signs:
    • Severe swelling
    • A lump in the breast
    • Redness and warmth, which could indicate an infection
    • A bruise on your breast that doesn’t go away
  3. Your breasts hurt due to an unsupportive bra. Without proper support, the ligaments that connect breasts to the chest wall can become overstretched and painful by the end of the day. The result is achy, sore breasts. This may be especially noticeable during exercise. Make sure your bra is the correct size and provides good support.
  4. Breast pain is really coming from your chest wall. What feels like breast pain may actually be coming from your chest wall. This is the area of muscle, tissue and bone that surrounds and protects your heart and lungs. Common causes of chest wall pain include:
    • A pulled muscle
    • Inflammation around the ribs
    • Trauma to the chest wall (getting hit in the chest)
    • Bone fracture
  5. Breastfeeding is causing breast tenderness. Breastfeeding can sometimes be the source of breast pain. Some of the things you can experience while nursing include:
    • Painful nipples from an improper latch (the way a baby latches on to suck)
    • Tingling sensation during letdown (when the milk starts to flow to the baby)
    • Nipple soreness due to being bitten or having dry, cracked skin or an infection

    If you have pain while breastfeeding, it’s best to talk to your doctor or a lactation consultant. They can help you troubleshoot the problem while maintaining your milk supply.

  6. You have a breast infection. Breastfeeding women are most likely to get breast infections (mastitis), but they occasionally occur in other women, too. If you have a breast infection, you may have a fever and symptoms in one breast, including:
    • Pain
    • Redness
    • Swelling

    If you think you may have a breast infection, it’s important to see a doctor. Treatment typically includes antibiotics and pain relievers.

  7. Breast pain could be a medication side effect. Some medications may cause breast pain as a side effect. Talk to your doctor about the medications you’re on and if this could be the case for you. Some drugs with this known side effect include:
    • Oxymethone, used to treat some forms of anemia
    • Chlorpromazine, used to treat various mental health conditions
    • Water pills (diuretics), drugs that increase urination and are used to treat kidney and heart disease and high blood pressure
    • Hormone therapies (birth control pills, hormone replacement or infertility treatments)
    • Digitalis, prescribed for heart failure
    • Methyldopa, used to treat high blood pressure
  8. You have a painful breast cyst. If a tender lump suddenly appears in your breast, you may have a cyst, says Wright. “These fluid-filled lumps aren’t dangerous and often don’t need to be treated as they may resolve on their own. But it’s important to get any lump in your breast evaluated by a doctor.” To diagnose a cyst, your doctor may recommend a mammogram, ultrasound or aspiration (drawing fluid from the lump). Draining fluid from the cyst is also a form of treatment. If the cyst isn’t bothersome, you may not need any treatment at all. Learn more about breast cysts and other noncancerous breast lumps,
  9. You’re experiencing painful complications from breast implants. Some women have complications with breast implants, whether made of silicone or saline. One of the most common causes of pain after breast augmentation surgery is capsular contracture, when scar tissue forms too tightly around implants. Breast pain can also be an indication that one of your implants has ruptured. Talk to your doctor about any pain you’re having to determine if it could be related to the breast implants.
  10. Breast pain can sometimes be a sign of breast cancer. It’s unusual for breast cancer to cause pain, says Wright, but not impossible. Inflammatory breast cancer often causes pain but it’s rare, accounting for 1% to 5% of breast cancer cases in the United States. Symptoms of this aggressive disease often come on suddenly and progress rapidly. Inflammatory breast cancer may cause the breast to become:
    • Red or discolored
    • Swollen or heavy
    • Painful

    Skin on the breast may also thicken or dimple. If you’re concerned about inflammatory breast cancer, see your doctor immediately.

What causes sharp pain in breast?

Breast pain, or mastalgia, is very common. Possible causes of breast pain include hormonal changes, an incorrect bra fit, and infections. Pain in the breast affects approximately two-thirds of females during their reproductive years, and it is one of the most frequent complaints of those aged 15–40 years.

Breast pain is not commonly a symptom of breast cancer, but if a person has pain alongside other breast changes, such as a lump or discharge, they should speak with a doctor. Keep reading to learn more about some of the possible causes of breast pain and get tips on how to manage this symptom. Tender or swollen breasts are usually related to the hormonal changes that take place before a period.

This type of breast pain usually causes tenderness in both breasts, and it may extend to the armpit. When breast pain is related to the menstrual cycle, it is known as cyclic breast pain. Cyclic breast pain can be part of a set of symptoms that occur before a period, known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), or it may occur on its own.

mood swings acne headachesbloating diarrhea or constipation tiredness trouble sleeping

PMS is temporary, and it usually goes away several days after a period begins. In the meantime, people can treat the symptoms by taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, wearing a comfortable and supportive bra, and using gentle heat to soothe the pain.

Breast pain can also occur due to other hormonal changes, such as those that take place during pregnancy or in the first stage of menopause, Learn why the breasts can be sore before a period, Bras can cause breast pain if they are too tight or they contain an underwire that digs into the skin or breast tissue.

If a person gets cyclic breast pain, they may also find that at certain times in their menstrual cycle, their usual bras feel too small or are uncomfortable. People can get a bra fitting for free at many department stores to find the right size for them.

They may wish to purchase non-wired, supportive, and comfortable bras if they experience soreness before their period. Supportive bras can also help when exercising. According to a 2021 article, 60–70% of women report less breast pain when they wear a sports bra during exercise. Fibrocystic breast changes are harmless but potentially uncomfortable symptoms that cause the breasts to feel lumpy or otherwise different in texture due to hormonal fluctuations.

Fibrocystic breast disease is the most common type of noncancerous breast condition. The symptoms may include:

breasts that feel firmer or thicker than usualtendernesslumps or cystssensitive nipplesitchiness

The symptoms may get worse before a period, and they will usually stop after menopause. The treatment or management of fibrocystic breasts may involve :

taking OTC pain medication, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil)applying cool or warm compresses when the breasts are more painfulavoiding a large intake of salt, caffeine, or fat in the dietstarting or stopping birth control pills

If fibrocystic breast changes may be related to a new contraceptive, it is important to speak with a doctor before making any changes to the dosage. Mastitis is the term for inflammation or swelling in the breasts. The usual cause is an infection. Although the condition most often affects those who are breastfeeding, it can occur in people who are not. The symptoms of mastitis include:

swelling, pain, and warmth in part of the breast fever headachesgeneral flu -like symptoms

The treatment for an infection is antibiotics, A person who is breastfeeding will also need to empty the breasts of milk. If an abscess is present, doctors will drain the pus surgically or remove it with a needle. Both surgery and radiation therapy for breast cancer can cause scar tissue formation. This can result in:

numbness or pain, if the scar tissue develops around nervesan increase in firmness or a rounder appearance of the breastformation of a lump if the scar forms around a surgical stitch

Treatment options include:

physical therapy, if the scar tissue causes pain, stiffness, and pressuresurgical removal of scar tissue, if it is very painfuluse of creams and ointments to lessen the appearance of scars, if a person finds them bothersome

Breast pain can originate from outside the breast, rather than within it. For example, sprains or injuries in the back, neck, or shoulder might cause pain that a person feels in the breast. A 2020 study notes that cervical root disorders, which people sometimes refer to as a pinched nerve, can cause breast pain.

  1. These disorders involve damage to or inflammation of a nerve root in the neck.
  2. When people perceive pain in a broader area than the site where it originates, this is known as referred pain.
  3. The treatment relies on finding the underlying problem.
  4. For example, if a person with breast pain has a pinched nerve, physical therapy or spinal surgery for the pinched nerve may improve the breast pain.

Costochondritis is inflammation of the costal cartilage, which connects the ribs to the breastbone. The condition can cause sharp chest pain and tenderness, and it may have a gradual or sudden onset. The following factors may worsen the pain:

pressure on the chest, such as when wearing a seat beltphysical activitysitting or lying in particular positionsdeep breathing, sneezing, or coughing

Treatment may include:

avoiding activities that worsen the painapplying heat to the areataking one of the following medications:

Tylenol nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Advil aspirin, if older than 16 yearscorticosteroid injections, such as triamcinolone (Kenalog)

undergoing transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), a procedure that applies an electric current to an area to reduce pain

A range of conditions can cause pain in the wall of the chest. This pain can sometimes feel as though it is coming from the breast, even though it is not. The pain can vary in extent, ranging from one specific area to a wide area of the breast. A person may experience :

burning or sharp painpain that spreads down the armpain that occurs when someone applies pressure to the chest wallpain that worsens upon movement

Possible causes include:

bruisingfractured ribs gallstones angina autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis

The treatment will vary based on the cause, but it may involve pain management and avoiding movements that make the pain worse until the root cause has improved. Breast cysts are fluid-filled sacs. They are noncancerous, relatively soft, and more common in premenopausal females.

Some cysts do not produce symptoms, but others may cause pain and nipple discharge. Unless the cysts are particularly large or painful, they do not need treatment. If treatment is necessary, it involves draining the fluid out with a needle. Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast mutate and begin growing uncontrollably.

Pain in the breast is not usually due to cancer, but this is a possible cause. Other symptoms may include :

a lump in the breastpain in any part of the breastany nipple discharge — bloody, clear, or otherwisedimpling or irritation of breast skinpulling in at the nipple or pain in the nippleflaky, inflamed skin in the nipple areathickening or swelling of part of the breastchange in the shape or size of the breast

Rarely, people can develop inflammatory breast cancer, which causes different symptoms. These include:

a painful, tender, or itchy breastpink, red, or purple discoloration that covers at least one-third of the breastswelling of the skin, making one breast look larger than the otherpitting of the skin, similar to that of orange peela retracted or inverted nipple

The treatment options for breast cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation therapy, and biologic therapy. People will often receive more than one of these treatments. Cyclic pain, which is related to the menstrual cycle, and noncyclic pain have some key differences.

The following table compares and contrasts the two types of pain: If a person has cyclic pain, but the pain is worse in one breast than the other, hormones may not be the only cause. It can help to keep a symptom diary to determine whether pain is cyclic. Alternatively, people can use apps that track menstruation and its associated symptoms to see whether there is a pattern.

In a symptom diary, it can be helpful to assign a numerical value to the pain intensity every day throughout one or more menstrual cycles. If the pain occurs or increases at the same times during each cycle, it may be cyclic. People can share this information with a doctor during an appointment.

wearing a supportive bra that fits welltaking OTC pain medicationslimiting the intake of chocolate, coffee, tea, and soft drinksapplying hot or cold compresses to the breastsgetting regular exerciseengaging in relaxation methods to reduce stress, anxiety, and tension

It is advisable to speak with a healthcare professional before trying self-care techniques to ensure that they are appropriate. In certain circumstances, medical intervention may be necessary. There are multiple possible causes of breast pain, or mastalgia.

This symptom may be cyclic or noncyclic. If the pain is cyclic, it is related to the fluctuating hormones of the menstrual cycle. Noncyclic breast pain can be due to PMS, fibrocystic breast changes, injuries and sprains, or inflammation around the ribs. Sometimes, cysts or infections are responsible for this symptom.

Although breast cancer is not usually a cause of breast pain, anyone with this symptom should consult a doctor to rule out this condition.

Do dermatologists diagnose breast cancer?

Dermatologists may be the first to identify a breast cancer diagnosis, as a subset of patients first present with direct extension of an underlying tumor or with a cutaneous metastasis.

Can blood test detect breast cancer?

Blood tests – Blood tests are not used to diagnose breast cancer, but they can help to get a sense of a person’s overall health. For example, they can be used to help determine if a person is healthy enough to have surgery or certain types of chemotherapy.

  1. A complete blood count (CBC) looks at whether your blood has normal numbers of different types of blood cells.
  2. For example, it can show if you are anemic (have a low number of red blood cells), if you could have trouble with bleeding (due to a low number of blood platelets), or if you are at increased risk for infections (because of a low number of white blood cells).

This test could be repeated regularly during treatment, as many cancer drugs can affect blood-forming cells of the bone marrow. Blood chemistry tests can help find if some of your organs, such as the liver or kidneys are not working as well. For example, if cancer has spread to the bones, it might cause higher than normal levels of calcium and alkaline phosphatase.

If breast cancer spreads to the liver, it can sometimes cause high levels of liver function tests, such as aspartate aminotransferase (AST) or alanine aminotransferase (ALT). Breast cancer does not spread to the kidneys, but if your bloodwork shows your kidneys are not working well, certain chemo drugs, like cisplatin, might not be used.

Breast cancer cells sometimes make substances called tumor markers that can be found in the blood. For breast cancer that has spread to other organs, tumor markers that might be checked include carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), cancer antigen 15-3 (CA 15-3), and cancer antigen 27-29 (CA 27-29).

  • Blood tests for these tumor markers are not used by themselves to diagnose or follow breast cancer. Burstein HJ, Somerfield MR, Barton DL, et al.
  • Endocrine Treatment and Targeted Therapy for Hormone Receptor-Positive, Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2-Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer: ASCO Guideline Update,

J Clin Oncol,2021;JCO2101392. doi:10.1200/JCO.21.01392. National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN). Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Breast Cancer. Version 8.2021 – September 13, 2021. Accessed at https://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/breast.pdf on September 14, 2021.

  • Van Poznak C, Somerfield MR, Bast RC, et al.
  • Use of Biomarkers to Guide Decisions on Systemic Therapy for Women With Metastatic Breast Cancer: American Society of Clinical Oncology Clinical Practice Guideline.
  • J Clin Oncol,2015;33(24):2695-2704.
  • Doi:10.1200/JCO.2015.61.1459.
  • Last Revised: January 31, 2023 American Cancer Society medical information is copyrighted material.

For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy,

Can a doctor see cancer on a mammogram?

Regular mammograms are the best tests doctors have to find breast cancer early. A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast. Doctors use a mammogram to look for early signs of breast cancer. Regular mammograms are the best tests doctors have to find breast cancer early, sometimes up to three years before it can be felt.

Can ultrasound detect breast cancer?

When is breast ultrasound used? – Ultrasound is not typically used as a routine screening test for breast cancer. But it can be useful for looking at some breast changes, such as lumps (especially those that can be felt but not seen on a mammogram). Ultrasound can be especially helpful in women with dense breast tissue, which can make it hard to see abnormal areas on mammograms.

  • It also can be used to get a better look at a suspicious area that was seen on a mammogram.
  • Ultrasound is useful because it can often tell the difference between fluid-filled masses like cysts (which are very unlikely to be cancer) and solid masses (which might need further testing to be sure they’re not cancer).

Ultrasound can also be used to help guide a biopsy needle into an area of the breast so that cells can be taken out and tested for cancer. This can also be done in swollen lymph nodes under the arm. Ultrasound is widely available and is fairly easy to have done, and it does not expose a person to radiation.