Women who’ve had an ultrasound to see if their breasts are growing should now use the technology to find out if they have a problem, according to the Australian government.
A spokeswoman for the Australian Women’s Health Network, which represents about 200,000 women in the health sector, said the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) had recently recommended that women who had a second ultrasound be treated with an ultrasound, but this was only done for women who were having the test twice.
“We have now decided to make this recommendation and I think it will be very useful for many women,” she said.
The NHMRC is a part of the Australian National Health Service (ANAHS), the nation’s health authority.
It is the body which determines whether and when women should have an ultrasound.
The spokeswoman said a consultation on the advice of the NHMCC had been held.
The recommendation is the first of its kind in Australia.
“It is important that women are educated and advised on the ultrasound, as it can help them identify and treat the most common breast cancer diagnosis,” she told the ABC.
“Women should be given a clear and straightforward ultrasound to confirm if they are indeed growing breast tissue and are advised to be monitored closely for signs of a breast cancer.”
The NHMMRC is recommending that women with symptoms should also be monitored for a year to determine whether the problem is an infection or hormonal changes, or is an underlying hormonal imbalance.
Women should also have the test done for the next two years.
If the test reveals a problem and the woman has the right test, then a referral to a specialist can be made.
If the woman does not have a specialist referral, then they can be referred to the doctor’s office for a second test.
Dr Peter Hutton from the University of Queensland’s Institute of Cancer and Reproductive Medicine told the Nine Network the ultrasound test should only be used for women with “substantial growth of breast tissue”.
“It’s the first indication of growth and, therefore, of a potential cancer, but it’s not always a very good indication,” he said.
The NHMPN said it had not heard of any other women who needed to see a specialist after the second test was done.
“As with any other diagnostic test, the primary goal should be to get the most accurate results as possible, so that the diagnosis is made as quickly as possible,” she explained.
“If the patient has been treated with the second ultrasound, then we can consider them for referral to another specialist.”
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