top of page



How does an ultrasound help find determine what a lump in the breast is?

If you do a breast self-exam or a screening mammogram and find something strange in your breast, your doctor may want to do an ultrasound of the breast tissue. A breast ultrasound is a type of scan that uses sound waves that go deep into the tissue but can't be heard by people. The breast tissue bends these waves, which creates echoes. A computer uses the echoes to make a picture of what's happening inside the breast tissue (no radiation is involved). A mass that is mostly liquid looks different than a mass that is mostly solid.

Results of an Ultrasound: Breast Sonogram

A "sonogram" is the name for the clear picture that the ultrasound makes. Ultrasounds are useful when a lump is big enough to feel, and the pictures can be used to find out more about the problem.

An ultrasound of the breast can show if the lump is a solid mass, a cyst filled with fluid, or a mix of the two. Cysts usually aren't cancerous, but a solid lump could be a cancerous tumor. This method of diagnosis is also used to find out the exact size and location of the lump and to get a better look at the tissue around it. If the lump is found to be cancer, the "clinical" stage of the cancer is determined by how big it is.

bottom of page