Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnosis

Breast cancer

Screening for Breast Cancer

Early detection of breast cancer often results in more positive outcomes. Doctors encourage monthly breast self-examinations to check for potential problems. If you notice a lump or other issue during a self-examination, your doctor will likely recommend further screening.

Diagnostic specialists at the Leslie Simon Breast Care and Cytodiagnosis Center rely on several screening tests to help find breast cancer early, including mammograms, breast ultrasound, and MRI.

Breast Cancer Diagnosis

If a breast cancer screening test indicates a potential issue, further testing confirms or rules out cancer. Our experts use the latest technologies to help diagnose breast cancer so you can begin treatment sooner.

  • Core biopsy: During this procedure, doctors use a wide, hollow needle to obtain samples of suspicious breast tissue. Pathologists examine the samples for breast cancer cells.
  • Diagnostic mammogram: If your doctor detects breast changes on a screening mammogram, he or she may recommend a diagnostic mammogram. This test X-rays the breast from multiple angles, providing a more complete picture of the interior.
  • Fine needle aspiration: Your doctor uses a thin, hollow needle to withdraw a small sample of fluid of breast tissue. Then, pathologists study the sample for cancerous cells. In some cases, doctors may use ultrasound to help navigate the needle.
  • Surgical breast biopsy: Doctors sometimes perform open surgery to remove tissue samples for further investigation. Usually, this occurs when other diagnostic tests are inconclusive.
  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy: If diagnostic testing indicates that you have breast cancer, your doctor will likely recommend sentinel lymph node biopsy. During this procedure, surgeons remove the first lymph node or group of lymph nodes draining the affected breast. This provides valuable information about whether breast cancer has spread to other tissues.

Your doctor may also recommend further imaging scans to determine whether breast cancer has spread. These tests may include:

  • Bone scan: This test shows whether cancer has spread to the bones.
  • Chest X-ray: A chest X-ray shows if cancer has spread to the lungs.
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan: Using multiple X-rays, doctors create detailed pictures of internal organs and other structures.
  • MRI: MRI shows more detailed images of certain complex internal structures, such as the spinal cord.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan: During this test, your doctor injects a small amount of radioactive sugar into a vein. Cancerous cells absorb this sugar. PET scans show areas of the body where this special sugar occurs in high concentrations, indicating a cancerous mass.
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