If mammography or self-examination detects a lump, one should not jump to the conclusion that they have breast cancer. On the contrary, there are a number of masses naturally found within the human body that may develop in the breasts in a fashion similar to cancer. Some examples include cysts, which are fluid filled sacs, and fibroadenomas, or solid non cancerous lumps. In order to determine the difference between these and other, more serious lumps, an ultrasound may be conducted to examine the density of lump using sound waves. In this procedure, the patient lies on their back and the breast being examined is covered in a gel that allows the physician to slide the transducer smoothly over the area of study. This transducer emits the sound waves, and an image is developed on screen of the breast tissue according to the echoes of the waves throughout the breast. This allows the specialist to examine the lump in question, including its density, to decide if a biopsy should be taken for further analysis.
It is important to note that this procedure is completely painless and radiation free. Another benefit of this procedure is that, due to the nature in which the images are obtained, the patient’s results are available instantly and can be discussed with the breast specialist before leaving the clinic.