Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Beyond a breast exam or mammogram, there are various tests and methods for doctors to diagnose and track progress of breast cancer. The process involves imaging and lab tests, including ultrasounds, MRIs, a breast biopsy and even bones scans to locate tumors and stage the cancer. A medical oncologist or breast surgeon help explain a breast cancer diagnosis and provide treatment options. Learn more about diagnosing breast cancer with expert advice from Sharecare.

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    Unlike other breast cancers, inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) usually does not cause a distinct lump in the breast. Therefore, a breast self-exam, clinical breast exam or even a mammogram may not detect IBC. Ultrasounds may also miss inflammatory breast cancer. However, the changes to the surface of the breast caused by IBC can be seen with the naked eye.

    Symptoms of IBC can develop rapidly, and the disease can progress quickly. Any sudden changes in the texture or appearance of the breast should be reported to your doctor immediately.

    For women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, redness, swelling, itchiness and soreness are often signs of a breast infection such as mastitis, which is treatable with antibiotics. If you are not pregnant or nursing and you develop these symptoms, your doctor should test for IBC.

    If your doctor prescribes antibiotics and your symptoms do not disappear, several diagnostic tests may help determine whether cancer cells are present in the breast:
    • Mammogram: Often the first step in diagnosing IBC, a mammogram may show thickened skin, usually without a visible mass. The affected breast may also appear larger and denser than the other breast. However, inflammatory breast cancer may not be detected by mammogram because there are no visible lumps.
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): If a mammogram is normal, an MRI may be used to detect abnormalities in the breast tissue.
    • Positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT): A combined PET and CT scan can find IBC that has moved to nearby and/or distant lymph nodes, one of the most common areas to which IBC spreads.
    • Skin biopsy: A definitive diagnosis of IBC is made by breast biopsy. If a breast exam or imaging study shows signs of IBC, your doctor will remove a sample of breast tissue and examine it under a microscope. Only a biopsy can show for sure that inflammatory breast cancer is present. If an apparent infection is not going away, you can consider asking your doctor for a skin biopsy.
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    A , Health Education, answered

    Ask your doctor what is the location of your breast cancer tumor. When you ask about your tumor’s location, you’ll need a little tumor-site lingo. Think of your breast as if it were a pie marked into four even pieces called quadrants. The four breast quadrants are (1) upper outer quadrant, (2) lower outer quadrant, (3) upper inner quadrant, and (4) lower inner quadrant. Tumor locations are expressed as straightforward descriptions.

    Your treatment plan will be determined, in part, by the tumor’s location. Studies have shown different prognoses and survival rates according to the location of the tumor. For example, according to a study published in 2007 by the Annals of Surgical Oncology, tumor location in the lower inner quadrant is an independent and important prognostic factor for early-stage breast cancer. There is growing evidence that tumors of the inner quadrants (especially the lower inner quadrant) metastasize more often.

    If you have an inner-quadrant tumor, be sure to ask your doctor specifically about it. Discuss with her all your treatment options. Ask where you can get additional information on studies done on tumor location and prognoses.

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    Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is non-invasive breast cancer, which means it has not spread beyond the breast. DCIS has no accompanying symptoms. Your doctor detects DCIS by examining a mammogram, or an image of the inside of your breast. If the radiologist who read your mammogram suspects you have DCIS, he or she will arrange for you to have a stereotactic biopsy.

    For a stereotactic biopsy, you will lie on your stomach on a special table that allows your breast to drop through an opening. Your radiologist will compress your breast with special paddles that project an image of the inside of your breast onto a screen. The projected image will guide your radiologist to obtain tissue samples using a specially designed needle. This procedure is often used for suspicious-looking lumps your doctor cannot feel during an exam.

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    Digital breast tomosynthesis, also called three dimensional  (3D) mammography, uses low-dose radiation to create images of breast tissue that are sliced into 8 to 15 views. The computer system then transforms the views into 3D angles of the breast. The density of the breast tissue determines the number of slices. The denser the tissue, the more slices, or views, the computer generates, providing radiologists and technicians clearer views of and through the tissue.

    The 3D technology gives a clearer picture of breast tissue, especially in women with dense breasts. It allows the doctor to "see through" overlapping breast tissue so that masses are more readily seen. The other important benefit of 3D imaging is the reduction in recall rates -- having to call people back for additional mammographic views or supplemental tests -- which greatly reduces a person's anxiety.
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    The following steps should be taken each day to care for your breast catheter site:
    • Wash and dry your hands before starting.
    • Remove the old dressing from around the catheter.
    • Pinch the wings of the ChloraPrep swab to release the liquid.
    • Swab the skin around the catheter with the moist swab in a circular movement, starting at the catheter site and moving outward.
    • Place two to four drain sponges around the catheter.
    • Use one cover sponge to cover drain sponges and the other cover sponge to pad the end caps. You should not remove any of the caps.
    • Cover the sponges and catheter ends with the ABD pad.
    • Secure the dressings with a bra. Avoid taping the dressings in place.
    • Sponge bathe only, since you do not want to get this dressing wet.
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    A , Health Education, answered

    The pathologist determines if the cells studied under the microscope are cancerous (malignant), precancerous (premalignant: at high risk of becoming cancerous), or benign (harmless).

    If you are told it’s benign, don’t just run out the door to celebrate. You still want a copy of the pathology report, because there’s one key term you need to look for: atypical hyperplasia. If you have this, you have an increased risk of breast cancer in the future. Most pathologists now know how important this is and comment on it in their reports. But don’t take any chances. If your report says “hyperplasia of the usual kind,” then you’re probably fine.

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    A answered
    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnetic fields to show differences between normal and abnormal tissue. For most women at high risk for breast cancer, screening with both mammograms and MRI should start at age 30 (or an age determined by the woman's healthcare professional) and continue for as long as a woman is in good health.

    For an MRI scan, you lie in a specially designed structure that houses the magnetic field. Contrast material is injected into your veins, and the MRI image shows the dye coursing through the blood vessels in your breasts.

    This test is used to detect cancer, determine the extent of disease, monitor response to therapy and screen women at high risk for breast cancer.
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    Benefits of genetic testing for the BRCA breast cancer genes include enabling people to make better treatment decisions for themselves, and potentially saving the lives of family members.

    Researchers found that younger women with breast cancer are increasingly choosing testing to determine if they are carriers of genetic mutations (BRCA 1 and 2) that place them at increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

    Because of testing one person, doctors have essentially been able to catch cancer earlier or prevent a cancer diagnosis in that person's relatives by what is called cascade testing, or testing other family members. This testing gives people the tools to really put them at the best chance to catch cancer early or lower their risks.
     
    This content originally appeared online at Baptist Health South Florida. https://baptisthealth.net/baptist-health-news/breast-cancer-patients-opting-genetic-testing/?cat=life
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    A , Plastic Surgery, answered
    Men, just like women, may have breast lumps. If this be the case, it should be clearly delineated and biopsied, as necessary, in order to determine malignancy versus gynecomastia, versus simple benign tissue.
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    A Surgery, answered on behalf of
    Are there any additional risks in 3D mammography?
    Overall exposure to radiation from a mammogram is very minimal, especially when compared to the benefit it provides in screening for breast cancer. Watch as Jamie Caughran, MD, FACS, of Mercy Health, explains the risks of both 2D and 3D mammograms.

    Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.