Breast cancer is a serious health issue that affects many women. Early detection is key to successful treatment, and there are a variety of tests that can be used to diagnose breast cancer. A biopsy is the only definitive way to diagnose breast cancer, and it involves the removal of a core of tissue from the suspicious area. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can also be used to diagnose breast cancer.
Other tests, such as mammograms, ultrasounds, and positron emission tomography (PET) scans, can help doctors determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Doctors may also use genomic tests to determine the best treatment options for a patient. If you have any symptoms of breast cancer, your family doctor will likely refer you to a breast specialist or surgeon. This doesn't mean that you have cancer or that you need surgery; these doctors are experts at diagnosing breast problems.
During a biopsy, a sample of cells or tissue is taken from the suspicious area of the breast and examined in a lab to see if they are cancerous. You may also have other tests done, such as a mammogram or ultrasound scan, to help diagnose breast cancer. If your doctor suspects that you may have breast cancer, they may also do tests to determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. If the cancer has spread, it's called metastasis.
A small metal clip is usually placed on the breast at the time of the biopsy to mark where the biopsy sample was taken in case more surgery is needed. Your multidisciplinary team will work with you to develop a personalized plan for treating
breast cancerin a way that fits your individual needs and goals. The type of biopsy used will depend on several factors, such as the size of the suspected tumor, its location in the breast, and whether there is more than one. The guidelines recommend that a HER2 test be performed when you are first diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.It's important to get mammograms as recommended, familiarize yourself with how your breasts normally look, and let your doctor know of any changes as soon as possible.
Screening mammograms are those in which your breasts are examined when you don't have a specific lump or other problem. Examining the tumor under a microscope is used to determine if it is invasive or non-invasive (in situ); if it is ductal, lobular, or another type of
breast cancer; and if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.The images from PET scans and computed tomography combine to show a more complete picture of the location of the cancer. If a suspicious area is found outside the breast and nearby lymph nodes, you may need a biopsy of other parts of the body to determine if it is cancer.Early detection is key when it comes to treating breast cancer successfully. There are many tests available that can help diagnose breast cancer and determine if it has spread to other parts of the body.
Your doctor will work with you to develop an individualized plan for treating your condition.