About Breast Ultrasound
Breast ultrasound technology uses sound waves to provide real-time images of the breast for radiologists and patients to view on a computer screen. It’s particularly helpful in gathering more information on a specific breast concern, whether a lump found by a patient or an area identified on a mammogram. Breast ultrasound does not replace the need for mammography; rather, it’s used to generate additional images of breast tissue that requires further study.
For some patients, physicians will request additional imaging, like contrast-enhanced mammography, breast MRI, or even needle biopsy of the breast. Keep in mind that these exams are more likely to rule out breast cancer than to end with a cancer diagnosis! Regardless of the outcome, you are in very capable hands with ARA Health. Our physicians are subspecialized in breast imaging, which means they are true experts in their field. And as part of our commitment to helping each patient achieve optimal breast health, we offer breast density and breast cancer risk assessments, which provide useful information in the creation of personalized screening strategies.
You have questions. We have answers.
Below you'll find answers to some of the questions we are commonly asked by patients. Please contact our ARA Cares Coordinator at (828) 436-5500 with any additional questions or concerns.
- 75-85% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history.
- One in eight women will be impacted by breast cancer in her lifetime.
- When caught early, the five-year survival rate of breast cancer is 99%.
- Breast cancers found in women under age 50 often are more aggressive, making screening mammography an important health tool for women in their 40s.
- The cancer incidence rate increases with age, making annual mammography even more important to women ages 50+.
- Men can also get breast cancer, although it is much less common than it is for women.
All women are at risk for developing breast cancer. The two biggest risk factors are being female and getting older. Other factors that increase a person's risk include:
- being overweight or obese
- having a sedentary lifestyle
- drinking more than one alcoholic drink a day
- exposure to high-dose radiation, particularly before age 30 (e.g. radiation therapy)
- family history of breast cancer
- inherited genetic mutations
- using hormone therapy after menopause
Several factors can decrease a person's risk of breast cancer, including:
- maintaining a healthy weight
- exercising regularly, on average 3-4 hours a week
- one or more full-term pregnancies
- first full-term pregnancy before age 25
- breastfeeding for more than 15 months (total months across all children)
- menopause before age 50
Experts agree that beginning breast screening at age 40 saves the most lives; however, women who have an increased risk of developing breast cancer should begin them earlier. Understanding your personal risk for developing breast cancer can empower you to make informed decisions about your own breast health. ARA Health's subspecialized breast radiologists, along with the American College of Radiology and Society of Breast Imaging, recommend:
Age 30: All women should undergo a breast cancer risk assessment (especially Black women and those of Ashkenazi Jewish decent).
Age 40: All women should have a 3D screening mammogram and plan to repeat them every 12 months (not just every calendar year).