Comparison of Breast Screenings

No screening can give women a Yes or No result.  Only a biopsy confirms breast disease.

Breast Thermography
Digital Breast Imaging Breast Thermography (or Breast Thermal Imaging) uses a Digital Infrared Camera to detect surface heat; temperature readings are compiled into an image by specialized software for computer analysis, followed by interpretation/evaluation of the images by a trained physician.  This screening is best used as a risk assessment and unlike other screenings does not detect calcifications or lumps.

 

Magnetic Resonance Imaging
MRI Magnetic Resonance Imaging, also known as an MRI, uses magnets and radio waves instead of x-rays to produce very detailed, cross-sectional pictures of the breasts.  For breast MRI to look for a lump or mass, a contrast liquid (called gadolinium) is injected into a vein before or during the scan to show details better.  This screening is more expensive than a Mammogram or Ultrasound and is effective for women with dense breasts.

 

Tomosynthesis
Tomosynthesis Basically an extension of a digital mammogram, the breast is compressed once and a machine takes many low-dose x-rays as it moves over the breast. The images are then combined into a 3-dimensional picture. This screening exposes breasts to more radiation than a mammogram.
Mammography
Mammogram After breasts are compressed between two firm surfaces to spread out the breast tissue, an X-ray captures black-and-white images that are displayed on a computer screen and examined by a radiologist.  A Mammogram is the only test that can detect and monitor micro calcifications.  Mammography can detect a lump or mass after it reaches 1 centimeter in size.  This screening exposes breasts to radiation and is not effective for screening women with dense breasts.

 

Ultrasound
Ultrasound Ultrasound, also known as sonography, uses sound waves to look inside the breast to detect a lump or mass.  A gel is put on the skin of the breast and a handheld instrument called a transducer is rubbed with gel and pressed against the breast.  It emits sound waves and picks up the echoes as they bounce off body tissues. The echoes are converted by a computer into a black and white image on a computer screen. This screening, which is painless and does not expose the breasts to radiation, can determine if a suspicious area is a cyst.  It is effective for women with dense breasts.