Are you looking for more information on how breast cancer is diagnosed?
If so, this information should help. Breast cancer is an extremely common type of cancer, especially among females. It is therefore extremely important that, as women, we take the time to get ourselves regular breast cancer exams. If you are interested in learning more about checkups and breast cancer diagnosis, continue reading this article. Throughout the article we will discuss what breast cancer is and how it is diagnosed.
Let’s begin by learning what breast cancer is. Breast cancer is, next to skin cancer, the leading cancer among women. While it is most commonly diagnosed among females, it can also effect the lives of men. Breast cancer is a group of cancerous cells, known as a malignant tumor, that begins in the cells of the breast and can potentially spread into other areas of the body.
While there are some signs that point to breast cancer (swelling of breast, skin irritation, pain, redness, nipple discharge, etc.), most women in the beginning stages of the cancer experience no symptoms at all. It is therefore extremely important that all women have a clinical breast exam performed at least once a year by a medical physician. If this exam is performed, and anything abnormal is found, other tests will be performed to determine if any of the irregularities could be from breast cancer.
What types of tests will be performed? One of the most common tests used to diagnose breast cancer is the mammogram. A mammogram is generally used for early detection of the cancer as they can detect anywhere from 85 to 90 percent of all breast cancers. Mammograms can help to detect breast cancer before a lump can even be felt or seen.
Another test commonly used to diagnose breast cancer is an ultrasound. Ultrasounds are usually used after a mammogram has already been conducted to help target a specific area of concern (as found by the mammogram). Ultrasounds also help to tell the difference between cysts and solid masses, as well as benign and cancerous tumors.
If a lump is found on your breast, a sample of tissue and fluid will be taken by your doctor and will be sent to be tested by a pathologist. Once you get the results back, your doctor will summarize your diagnosis. If you are diagnosed with cancer, you will be informed of which stage you are at. The stage you are at will determine which course of treatment you will need to seek.
Because breast cancer is so common, it is very important that you have an annual breast exam completed by your health care professional. It is also suggested that you ask your doctor how to perform a regular breast exam on your own so that you can do regular checks on yourself.