Mammogram versus ultrasound

Specialties Oncology


earle58 posted that her sister was just diagnosed with invasive intraductal breast ca, and included this:

she went for a second mammogram this past thursday because a lump was now palpable. they ordered a stat ultrasound and did find a 3 cm mass.
I have insisted on ultrasounds since I found out my severe fibrocystic breast disease kept the mammos from showing the flecks of calcium (or whatever they are) that are the red flags for malignancies. Until recently, I would have the mammograms too, because the docs seemed to want them, but once they became so painful that it was days before I didn't hurt anymore, I figured, that's enough.

However, the more I read, and now with earle58's post, the more angry I become that we are using antiquated x-rays in the form of mammograms, which are quite uncomfortable as well, instead of ultrasound, which is not radiation, doesn't hurt and apparently is much better at diagnosis!!!

What's with this, and should we as nurses champion getting rid of those money making mammography machines once and for all, and educating women to demand ultrasounds?

leslie :-D

11,191 Posts

i too oppose the use of mammograms, even before my sister lisa was diagnosed. my former ADON had a mammogram which came back negative. the quality assurance dept. took a bunch of mammogram films and it was on the 2nd time that they found something on my adon's....she initially had received a negative report. furthermore my sister's type of cancer generally does not even show up on mammograms. it was only because of a palpable lump that it showed up but mammograms cannot detect early stages of certain types. i have heard that there is an 80% success rate of dx w/mammograms. to me that is unacceptable, if it is true. we need a diagnostic that is 100% reliable. breast cancer compares to the power of satan growing and spreading his fungating evils....someone or something has to stop it in its' tracks and not worry about cost containment; these are women's damn lives.


24 Posts

My mum had a mammogram five years ago and they gave her the all clear. She asked for an ultrasound which found the cancer and she had a mastectomy (sp?) a week later. Five years on she is perfectly healthy :)

On this topic, if you have breast cancer in your immediate family what age is it recommended you start going for mammograms? My mum was 47 and a dr told me recently it is recommended you start 10 yrs before the age of the relative? But with people much younger than mid-thirties diagnosed I'm wondering if it should be done earlier?

I have also heard 10 years before the relative was diagnosed, but there may be more specific guidelines--like a specific age.

If I had it to do over again, I would not do mammograms. I would do ultrasound. You, at least, could use your mom's experience as your reason.

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