Dec 2, 2009 8:39 AM by Jamie Smith
A group of experts say ultrasound may be most effective in detecting breast cancers among women with dense breast tissue. The usual mammograms are not as effective in getting good images of dense breast tissue, which is more common in women under age 50.
A Johns Hopkins study finds using ultrasounds annually, in addition to mammograms, significantly improves early detection of breast cancer among these women. MRI's were also effective in picking up early stages of cancer, but researchers say the tests should be reserved for women with a very high risk for breast cancer.
MRI and ultrasound also increased the risk of false-positives, leading to unnecessary biopsies in some cases. Unnecessary biopsies might be avoided, however, with very targeted ultrasounds of suspicious areas of the breast according to other new imaging research out this morning.
Doctors at the University of Washington looked at 2700 young women under age 40 who'd found lumps or other suspicious areas in their breasts. Targeted ultrasound of the area of concern was able to detect all of the cancer cases, without false positives.