Banner Health Services  

Ask the Expert - Breast Cancer


Brenda Johnson is the Lead Mammographer at Banner Baywood Medical Center

Question: Recently, I have been hearing a lot about the different ways professionals detect breast cancer. What is the difference between a screening mammogram a diagnostic mammogram and an ultrasound?

Answer: A screening mammogram is done on a woman who is asymptomatic or has no problems with either breast. This is usually done as part of her well women exam and should be done yearly after the age of 40. A diagnostic exam is done for pain, lump, nipple discharge, or to recheck prior breast problems. Many times, an ultrasound will be used in conjunction with the diagnostic mammogram. An ultrasound is used to help differentiate between normal tissue, a cyst, or a probable mass in the breast tissue. If a questionable area is seen on a mammogram, it can then be targeted on the ultrasound and at that time, a diagnosis can be made.

Page Last Modified: 02/22/2010
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