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A 43-year-old member asked:

Is it more better to get a sonogram verses a mammogram in a woman under age 35 ?

3 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Barry Rosen
General Surgery 34 years experience
"Apples and Oranges": A mammogram is a screening test--it looks for cancers that are otherwise silent & undetectable; however, they are of limited benefit in young women & have radiation exposure. An ultrasound is a poor screening test; it is best for determining if a mammographic or palpable abnormality should be biopsied. Therefore, <35, we only advise mammography if one has a very young relative with breast ca.
Dr. Carl Decker
Radiology 24 years experience
Often sonogram: Most centers would start with an ultrasound of the breast in a woman <35 to work up a lump or other palpable abnormality. Only in the setting of a patient with a family history (for instance your mother diagnosed with breast cancer premenopausally) would you start with a mammogram. In that case, the mammogram would start at the age at diagnosis minus 10 years.
Dr. Michael Gabor
Diagnostic Radiology 33 years experience
It depends.: Since we are not talking about a screening situation, if there is a lump or other symptom, usually an ultrasound is performed first in younger women. If this solves the problem(e.g. there is a simple cyst corresponding to a palpable nodule), a mammo is not needed. If not, you may end up getting a mammo too.

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Last updated Jul 18, 2014

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