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Alternatives to Mammograms

As health experts and women continue to debate when a woman should get their mammograms, what about the other options? Who should get an MRI? What's the difference between an ultrasound and a mammogram?

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"Early Show" contributor and WCBS-TV's Dr. Holly Phillips discussed on the broadcast the different screening measures for breast cancer -- and which may be best for you.


Home breast exam plus a clinical exam (least invasive)
Phillips said she still encourages women to perform breast exams at home, regardless of the guidelines. She said a large number of women find their own breast tumors -- they just discover them on their own.

Ultrasound, Phillips said, is better for younger women. She explained breasts among young women are often denser, which makes mammograms less accurate.

Phillips said ultrasound is not yet widely proven to be as accurate as a mammogram or MRI. She said currently ultrasound is used alongside mammogram screening.

And for women 30 to 39, ultrasound is a very sensitive screening tool for breast cancer that has no radiation, Phillips said.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Phillips said MRI is most expensive, yet most accurate breast cancer screening method.

Often utilized among very at-risk women, Phillips said the screening method may, at times, be overly accurate, finding things that may not be necessary. She added that MRI, also, has no radiation.

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