At present we have no good evidence to support the routine use of screening ultrasound in women at *average* risk of breast cancer. It can produce a high number of false positive outcomes making it not well suited to screening.
For this reason, ultrasound is used in the NZ screening programme only as an additional assessment tool, not as an alternative to mammography. Focused ultrasound (on specific areas of the breast) is routinely performed as an adjunct to mammograms to evaluate palpable lumps or certain clinical changes in the breast.
*Ultrasound as a screening or adjunctive tool MAY be offered to women who*
- Are at *high risk* of breast cancer and unable to undergo an MRI examination,
- Are *pregnant*, younger than 35 years of age or breastfeeding and should not be exposed to x-rays required for a mammogram,
- Have breast implants and do not tolerate compression required for a mammogram,
- Have *very dense* breasts diagnosed on mammogram and following discussion of pros and cons with their doctor,
And who accept the increased likelihood of requiring a biopsy.