On December 1, it was announced that an experimental ultrasound had been developed to help doctors detect Breast Cancer. With this technique, Breast Cancer can be determined by how easy breast lumps compress and then bounce back. This produces instant results and no biopsy is necessary. This new technique is called Elastograpghy.
Both traditional ultrasound and Elastography use echoes from high-frequency sound waves that deliver pictures of what is going on inside the body. But with Elastography, as the doctor moves the handheld device over the breast, the device collects echoes before and after the compression of the breast. The results show stiff tissues as dark areas and soft tissues as light areas.
In a small study of 80 women, the technique distinguished harmful lumps from malignant ones with nearly 100 percent accuracy. If the results succeed with a large group, this technique, could save thousands of lives reducing the cost, discomfort, anxiety, and waiting of a biopsy.
Up to one million biopsies are performed each year on suspicious breast tissue that was detected by mammograms or self examinations. Biopsies can cost $200.00 to $1,000.00 depending on whether fluid was drawn or an entire lump was removed. Then, you have to wait for the results. The cost of an Elastography is estimated at $100.00 to $200.00 and results are given within minutes.
Elastography was even tested against biopsies of women who had cancerous tumors and was correct 17 out of 17 cases. Out of 106 known to have harmless lesions, 105 were correct.
Scientist is also predicting that this technique may also be used to rapidly diagnose damaged hearts.
Some concerns expressed by Doctors on this subject were the fact that it would be hard giving up biopsies. They know this procedure and what to expect. Doctors also fear lawsuits may be possible if they do not order biopsies.
This year, nearly 211,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, 43,300 will die. In addition, 1,600 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 400 will die. Early detection is the key to survival. Yearly mammograms are encouraged to help detect cancer.
Breast Cancer Signs and Symptoms:
One breast larger than the other
Red or Pink skin
Rash (entire breast or small patches)
Orange- like texture
Skin that is hot to touch
Pain and/or itchiness
Ridges or thickened areas of the breast
Nipples that appears inverted or flattened
Swollen lymph nodes under armpit
Swollen lymph nodes of the neck (sometimes)
If you have one or more symptoms listed above, contact your doctor for further information.