Most people hear the term ultrasound and think of a pregnant woman at her OB/GYN's office. When you hear the word cancer you might think of the pink ribbon symbol for breast cancer – and its correlation to women. However, ultrasound and cancer can relate directly to men, as well. Continue reading to understand how these three terms are interconnected.
Ultrasound is Used to Detect and Evaluate Cancer in Men
An ultrasound isn't reserved exclusively for prenatal checkups. It serves a variety of purposes in the medical field. You may be more familiar with ultrasound's other medical term: sonography. This equipment uses soundwaves to create and project images onto a screen for easy evaluation. If you go in for a cancer screening, you will first need to provide your medical history and possibly undergo a physical exam. If a growth is discovered, ultrasound – or sonography – equipment might be used in your exam. A few examples of cancers detected using sonography include:
- Kidney and Organ Cancer: The ultrasound microphone is moved along your abdomen and side so your doctor can evaluate your kidneys from multiple angles. If any suspicious lumps are found, surrounding organs are observed using the ultrasound to see if it has spread. The projected image is also used to guide a biopsy needle towards the growth while a sample is taken. The sample is then evaluated in a lab to determine if a tumor is benign or malignant.
- Prostate Cancer: Use of the ultrasound is slightly more invasive to detect prostate cancer than other cancers. The ultrasound microphone is inserted partway into the rectum so the prostate gland can be observed and the lining of the prostate can be measured. This measurement is used to determine the density of prostate-specific antigens (PSAs). Doctors look for high PSA counts and changes in PSA count to determine the likelihood of you having prostate cancer. If necessary, other tests such as a digital rectal exam, blood tests, and a biopsy are also used to locate prostate cancer.
- Breast Cancer: While less common in men than women, breast cancer is still a concern. To diagnose it, a physical exam is first performed to identify lump size, quantity, and texture. An ultrasound machine designed specifically to observe breast tissue is then used to examine the entire breast and see if the lumps look harmful or not and if more action should be taken.
Why Choose Ultrasound Over Other Tests?
While your physician will probably prescribe a number of tests to determine if you have developed cancer, ultrasound is a good place to start if there is a valid concern. Here are just a few reasons why:
- Non-Invasive: This test is non-invasive but provides a reliable view of affected tissue. If there are no visible problems, you don't have to undergo an invasive biopsy or other tests. If a problem is detected, the ultrasound helps guide needles during invasive procedures for safety and accuracy.
- No Radiation: Ultrasound doesn't expose you to radiation the way an x-ray does, so you don't have to undergo unnecessary exposure in order to observe a growth at different angles and measure its size.
- Differentiates Growths: Ultrasound equipment accurately differentiates between fluid-filled cysts and solid tumors. If a cyst is detected, a biopsy is unnecessary. In some cases – especially in evaluating kidney tumors – the echo patterns help determine if a tumor is benign or malignant.
The terms ultrasound, cancer, and men are easy to connect. Ultrasound equipment can be used to detect cancer in men. Growths are evaluated and biopsies are taken all with the help of ultrasound.
For more information about ultrasounds, contact a company like EVDI Medical Imaging.