Mammography is quintessential the most widely used technique for detecting breast cancer worldwide. 75% of the entire population of women over 40 in the United States performed at least one mammogram . However, there are alternatives to mammography that you can consider. Why?
Despite its fame and recurring use, there are some details with the use of mammography as a method of early detection of breast cancer. According to figures from the American Cancer Society, traditional mammograms are wrong in one in five positive cancer cases.
The problem is also that sometimes the so-called “false positives” are thrown , that is, cases of possible cancer that are later ruled out. This situation of course leads the patient to suffer unnecessary stress, not to mention having to undergo further testing. The additional tests will be expensive and uncomfortable for the patient.
When women have a very dense breast tissue mass, mammography usually fails in a third of cases, this is a large enough percentage to take this into account.
Alternatives to mammography
Due to growing concerns about digital mammography, other alternatives have become popular:
Digital Tomosynthesis (3D Mammography)
Evidence continues to confirm that 3D mammograms could be more effective and accurate in detecting breast cancer. Furthermore, this technique considerably reduces the cases of “False positives” reported.
Tomosynthesis or 3D mammography could save you scares and unnecessary expenses when doing the routine exam. For now it is not established as the standard to rule out breast cancer.
The amount of radiation emitted by a 3D mammogram is twice that of a digital mammogram. The United States Prevention Service still maintains that there is not enough evidence to recommend Tomosynthesis as the standard for all women, regardless of the density of their breast tissue.
MRI may be recommended for patients who have a significant history of breast cancer in their family. According to the Association of Radiological Journalists of the United States, in cases where mutations of the type genes are found BRCA1 OR BRCA2 the MRI identifies positive cancer with an accuracy of 92.3%.
According to this Association of journalists the traditional technique of digital mammography only detects four out of every thirteen cases in which the patient has BCRA1 or BCRA2.
Remember that BCRA is a detectable genetic mutation that prevents the person’s body from being prepared to inhibit tumors.
Despite its good statistics in this type of case the MRI is still criticized and little used. The problem is that it is not usually very accurate, it produces injuries that are difficult to identify and rule out.
There is a high amount of false positives with this technique. In general, the MRI should always be accompanied by biopsies or complementary imaging tests.
A well-accompanied MRI is probably the best option for patients with BCRA1 or BCRA2, but it will involve high costs and many exams, not to mention the stress and anxiety that comes with waiting for results after an MRI is done. “Possible” cancer injury.
Although ultrasound alone is not an approved technique for detecting breast cancer, it can be used to complement and rule it out in women with dense breast mass. Combining both techniques increases the chance of detecting early breast cancer.
Another problem with ultra sound is that it depends entirely on the skill of the technician who operates the machine, usually with inconsistent results. To counteract human error a system called ABUS ( Automated Breast Ultrasound) was standardized which allows, as its initials in English indicate, to automate the process as an alternative to manual technique.
The ABUS system uses high-frequency waves to give a 3D view of the breasts, these images provide different angles and allow radiologists to better analyze the cases of women with dense breast tissue.
Despite the fact that ABUS is a legal and FDA approved mechanism the costs are still very high, it costs around $ 500 and it is strange to see it included in health policies.
The technology of detention continues to advance at a rapid pace, very soon we will have established a modern, precise and popularized technique that is not so expensive. At the moment these are all the alternatives to mammography that have been consolidated.