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.

Recently Answered

  • 1 Answer
    A
    A answered
    Here are some important questions to ask your healthcare professional if you find a lump in your breast:
    • What tests are needed to find out if the lump is cancerous?
    • In addition to a physical exam of my breasts, will you check the lymph nodes in my armpits and neck?
    • Should I get a mammogram?
    • Will I need magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or an ultrasound?
    • Will I need a biopsy?
    • What does a biopsy involve?
    • How long will it take to get the results?
    • How will I obtain the results?
    • If the tests are negative but the lump is still there, what are the next steps?
    • If the tests are clear and the lump goes away, how often should I follow up with you?  
  • 1 Answer
    A
    Wire localization of the breast is a technique used to guide a surgeon to a nonpalpable suspicious abnormality seen on a mammogram or sonogram (image obtained by ultrasonography). This technique helps to ensure removal of the entire abnormality while minimizing the amount of normal breast tissue excised.
  • 2 Answers
    A
    A , Psychiatry, answered

    Part of your initial consultation with any cancer specialist should include an estimate of how responsive your cancer will be to the treatment plan being proposed, and how that fits in with your general health or other medical conditions. Together, those pieces of information can help form an initial prognosis.

    As a shortcut, many people erroneously think that a later stage cancer (stage III or IV) has a worse prognosis than an earlier stage (I or II) prognosis, but that just isn't so. Some cancers are quite reponsive to treatment at any stage.

    Knowing your prognosis is important but only part of the full picture. Putting together the prognosis for a response to treatment and your personal characteristics (amount of information you'd like to have, how active to be in decision-making, whether you're genrally optimistic, pessimistic or realistic and how that matches your oncologist) takes some planning.  For more information about What Is Important to Me, and Questions I Want Answered, please see LEARN to Live Through Cancer: What You need to Know and Do published by Demos Health.

    See All 2 Answers
  • 2 Answers
    A
    Avoiding cancer risk factors such as smoking, being overweight and lack of exercise may help prevent certain cancers. Increasing protective factors such as quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet and exercising may also help prevent some cancers. Talk to your doctor or other health care professional about how you might lower your risk of cancer.

    This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.
    See All 2 Answers
  • 2 Answers
    A
    A , Health Education, answered

    The best doctors don’t necessarily use the biggest words. What you needed was a simple explanation of your diagnosis and its implications in plain English, not fancy cancer jargon.

    Explaining a woman’s breast cancer diagnosis is something that breast specialists do all the time. That means that your doctor should have had plenty of opportunities to practice and perfect his spiel before you walked into his office.

    At minimum, your doctor should have showed you your X-rays and given you a copy of your pathology report while explaining the key sections and conclusions. The best doctors are skillful at explaining complex disease processes and treatment plans in simple language. Ideally, your doctor volunteered information that you may not have thought to ask for, such as the possibility of using complementary medicine or participating in a clinical trial, and given you additional sources of information about your type of breast cancer.

    See All 2 Answers
  • 1 Answer
    A
    During wire localization of the breast, the radiologist uses either mammographic or ultrasonographic guidance to place a needle adjacent to the abnormality (usually either a mass or a cluster of calcifications). Once the position of the needle has been confirmed (usually in two mammographic projections), a thin wire is placed through the needle. The needle is withdrawn, leaving the wire in place to guide the subsequent surgical excision. The surgeon removes the abnormality and the wire in the operating room. The excised tissue is imaged by either mammography or ultrasonography to confirm that the abnormality has been removed.
  • 3 Answers
    A
    A Hematology, answered on behalf of
    It is typically measured underneath the microscope and in the pathology report the pathologist will give two dimensions in cm. Ex. 1x2cm. It is also important that the margins are negative (i.e. not involved by cancer) to get the accurate size.
    See All 3 Answers
  • 2 Answers
    A

    Once you have been told that you have breast cancer or might have breast cancer, you will be referred to a surgeon. There are many doctors who perform breast cancer surgery, but most do not specialize in breast cancer. They may just do a handful a year. You should look for a breast surgeon who specializes in breast cancer.

    See All 2 Answers
  • 1 Answer
    A
    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered

    Complicating things are the criteria radiologists and pathologists use to distinguish benign breast tumors from ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and other early breast cancers may vary by institution or clinician, and is intensely influenced by expertise of the interpreters. Like any other diagnosis, mistakes can be made.

     

     

  • 1 Answer
    A
    The BRAC Analysis Rearrangement Test (BART) is an additional level of analysis, which goes beyond DNA sequences of genes. BART looks for large rearrangements, deletions, and insertions of DNA material. A positive BART result has the same medical implications as a mutation found with more routine types of analysis. Anyone who has had comprehensive BRCA1/2 testing could go on for BART analysis. It is a matter of yield (chances of finding a mutation), and cost. For high-risk families (multiple cases of breast cancer; early-onset usually; often ovarian cancer in the family), the yield is 1-3%. The cost is $650.