I had a mammogram, but because I have dense breast tissue, my doctor suggested that I have another test, an ultrasound. What is the benefit of this second test, and can it detect problems that may escape mammogram detection?

Once again we turn to Anees Chagpar, M.D., Director of the Breast Center at Yale Cancer Center. She writes:

“Mammograms may miss up to 15% of small breast cancer, particularly in women who have very dense breast tissue.  Dense breast tissue on mammography appears white, as do breast cancers, and therefore the sensitivity of mammograms to find a cancer in dense tissue is lowered.

“Screening ultrasound as an adjunct to mammography may therefore be beneficial in finding cancers that mammography may miss in women with very dense breast tissue — but it’s important to note that ultrasound is not an appropriate screening test on its own.”

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