Breast Cancer Screening

Navigating the world of breast cancer screening and breast cancer diagnosis can be a challenging prospect. Because many women who are diagnosed have no family history of cancer or noticeable symptoms, regular testing is essential to preserving long-term health. If you have questions about breast screening, or a new breast cancer diagnosis, please feel free to contact the experienced breast surgeons at the Breast Surgery Center of Excellence for a consultation with one of our experts.

Breast Cancer Tests

Doctors classify types of breast cancer testing into three categories: screening tests, diagnostic tests and monitoring tests.breast-exam-los-angeles-breast-cancer-specialists

  • Screening Tests – Methods of detecting breast cancer before symptoms are present. Breast cancer screening tests include CBEs and mammograms (mammography), which use low-dose radiation to find and evaluate changes in the breast tissue.
  • Diagnostic Tests – Doctors perform diagnostic tests, such as a diagnostic mammogram, on patients suspected of having breast cancer. Biopsies and other tests help confirm a breast cancer diagnosis and determine whether the cancer has spread beyond the breast.
  • Monitoring Tests – After a patient has been diagnosed with breast cancer, doctors perform monitoring tests to evaluate the efficacy of treatment. Breast cancer survivors undergo continual monitoring to make sure cancer has not reoccurred.

Patients suspected of having breast cancer may also undergo the following tests before a diagnosis is reached: breast ultrasound, breast MRI, ductogram and nipple discharge test.

Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

A breast cancer diagnosis is frightening and confusing. Understanding the terms doctors use to diagnose breast cancer is crucial to making important decisions about your health and treatment going forward.

  • StageUsed to describe the degree of cancer, stage depends on a variety of factors including tumor size, nature of the cancer and whether or not it’s spread to the lymph nodes. Breast cancer stages range from 0 to IV and affect the plan of treatment.
  • TNM System – Doctors utilize the letter T to describe the size of the tumor, N to describe the degree to which cancer has spread to the nearby lymph nodes and M to describe if cancer has spread to other organs or the bones.

In general, patients with early stage cancers that have not spread to nearby lymph nodes or other organs have the best rate of survival.

Breast Cancer Screening FAQ

Q: What is the difference between screening and diagnostic tests?

A: Generally, screening tests are performed on patients not believed to suffer from breast cancer. These include mammograms and CBEs. Doctors perform diagnostic tests on patients suspected of having cancer. These include biopsies, breast MRIs and PET scans.

Q: Is Stage 0 breast cancer really cancer?

A: In cases classified as Stage 0, cancer cells are very small and have not spread beyond the duct to the fatty tissue of the breast. This is noninvasive cancer.

Q: Where are the most common sites for cancer to metastasize?

A: Breast cancer most often metastasizes to the bones, lungs, brain or liver.

Contact the Breast Surgery Center of Excellence

Understanding the specifics of your breast cancer diagnosis is key to developing a plan for treatment. Our doctors possess training from top medical schools and offer exciting new procedures like One-Stage Breast Reconstruction. If you have concerns about treatment options, including mastectomy and breast reconstruction, please don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Leslie Memsic and the team at the Breast Surgery Center of Excellence at (888) 316-4167.

Next, read about dense breasts.

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