Ultrasound Technician, Kit O’Brien

Ultrasound Technician, Kit O’Brien. Image source: parrysound.com

How Ultrasound is Used in the Fight against Breast Cancer

Even though most people will think of mammograms instead of ultrasounds when discussing breast cancer, the fact is that ultrasound is the first procedure to undertake in a case of breast cancer.

According to Kit O’Brien, who works at West Parry Sound Health Center as ultrasound technician, ultrasound is the first place to call by someone who has a lump in the breast to investigate.

This is because ultrasound is a technique that is highly non-invasive, meaning that it has the capacity to pinpoint the lump area without causing harm to surrounding healthy tissues and reveal its content.

It is not possible to know if a lump is cancerous or not by its appearance, however, ultrasound can recognize if it’s a solid mass, which makes it likely a cancer, or not.

If the mass is suspected to be cancer from what is shown on the screen, it is run through biopsy to confirm it. The ultrasound technician marks the mass for the radiologist.

How Ultrasound Technicians, Radiologists, and Surgeons Work Together

To take out cancer from breast, the three professionals: the ultrasound technician, radiologist, and the surgeon have to work together.

The first place the patient comes is the ultrasound. The ultrasound technician performs what is called “ultrasound guided needle localization”, O’Brien explains. Then the radiologist comes in, prep and freeze the area and makes a nick in the skin using a scalpel.

By looking at the guide under ultrasound, the ultrasound technician helps the radiologist to put it in the right cancer area.

The radiologist will ensure that the hook, which is at the end of the wire, is placed in the middle of the mass.
That done, the patient is taken straight for surgery where the surgeon cuts down the wire and locate the hook and remove the area surrounding the hook, which is the cancer.

Parry Sound Raises Funds to Buy New Ultrasound Machine

Parry Sounds needs $200,000 to buy a new and modern ultrasound machine to replace the one they have used for ten years in diagnosing breast cancer.

The old machine, which uses VHS tape could produce adequate image of what’s under the skin, however, the resolution is lower than what modern machines give.

This means healthcare providers would not see enough detail of the mass, making the process to take longer.

To buy this machine, the center has asked for donations, and has received support from several organizations and individuals who share their commitment in the fight against breast cancer.

From their website, parrysound.com, Parry Sound has received a total donation of $184,835.50 so far, and will soon meet the $200,000 target.