What are breasts:
The breasts are the pair of mammary glands on the chest that’s designed to secrete milk. Breasts contains lots of tiny sacs named alveoli which produce milk. When breast feeding/secreting milk, the milk flows out of the alveoli, through the milk duct and out of the nipple. These are present in both sexes, but are more developed in females.
The density of your breast is actually from the glandular tissue in it, which you start to lose over time as your estrogen levels drop and you grow older. This is why older women’s breasts tend to be fattier and less dense than younger women.
Ultrasound of the breasts:
The sonographer will request you remove your upper clothing (e.g bra, shirt, etc) and place a towel over your chest. The sonographer will then remove the towel on one side and press the ultrasound probe against your chest to rub around for images of the inside of your breast. This is repeated for the other side. The sonographer may also examine the arm pits in case there are enlargements or cancers in the axillary lymph nodes (which breast cancers usually spread to first).
The sonographer will look in the breasts for things like the milk ducts and lobules, along with looking for abnormalities like tumours, cysts and growths. In the ultrasound, you may be able to see your milk ducts as the long black shapes.
Common problems – breast cancer:
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer for women (but men are also capable of getting breast cancer, although rare). To read more, check Blessono’s blog about breast cancer.
Common problems – fibroadenoma
A fibroadenoma is a non-cancerous breast tumor that develops in young women (usually ages 15 – 35) and, unlike a cancerous tumor, doesn’t spread to other parts. A fibroadenoma’s size and shape can change over time, but if it gets too big then the doctor may advise surgically removing it. Other than that, a fibroadenoma is usually left untreated as it doesn’t have much effect.
Symptoms of a fibroadenoma are:
- Feeling a round and easily moving lump in your breast
When only doing a physical examination on your breast, you may mistake your fibroadenoma with breast cancer since both involve an unknown lump in your breast. To get a better check-up, you can get a non-invasive ultrasound image of the lump to see its features and whether it’s cancerous or not. A fibroadenoma usually appears as a solid shape with smooth/clear borders, while uneven and gradient borders can indicate malignancy (cancer), although, it’s best to have your sonographer or radiologist determine for you. After that, you can also get further testing like a biopsy to truly confirm if it’s cancerous or not.