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Common Tests for Breast Cancer

Ways to Detect Breast Cancer:
Mammogram
Understanding Mammogram Results
Breast Biopsy
Sentinel Node Biopsy
Ultrasound
MRI
Bone Densitometry Scan

There are two different stages of testing: Screening tests (such as an annual mammogram) look for signs of disease in women without symptoms; they should be part of every healthy woman's routine. Diagnostic tests (such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), blood tests, or bone scans) become part of the picture when breast cancer is suspected or has been diagnosed.

What Tests reveal:

Mammography is still the most important tool in detecting breast cancers: About one-third are found by mammography alone.
About another third of breast cancers are found by physical examination alone (not seen on mammography). Most palpable lumps (lumps that you can feel) are found by women themselves or their partners. Never ignore a lump in your breast, even if your doctor tells you not to worry and your mammogram is clear.
The other third of breast cancers? They're found with a combination of physical exams and mammography.
Finding cancer early makes it much more treatable.
Your mammogram may be followed by other tests: high-magnification mammography, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), sestamibi (Miraluma), positron emission tomography (PET) scans, chest X-rays, bone scans, computed axial tomography (CAT) scans, and blood tests. If any of these tests find something that requires further investigation, you may need a biopsy as well.
A promising new Blood Test may also be available by 2004 for Breast Cancer detection.


Leading authorities are in agreement that women in their 40s should be screened every one to two years with mammography:

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening mammography, with or without clinical breast examination, every 1-2 years for women aged 40 and older. "Mammography is an important tool for detecting breast cancer," said Janet Allan, Ph.D., R.N., vice chair of the USPSTF. "Clinicians and women should discuss individual risk factors to determine when to have a first mammogram and how often to have them after that."

The Federal Government makes a clear recommendation to women on mammography: If you are 40 or older, get screened for breast cancer with mammography every one to two years," Secretary Thompson has said. "While developing technology certainly holds the promise for new detection and treatment methods, mammography remains a strong and important tool in the early detection of breast cancer. The early detection of breast cancer can save lives.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has also reaffirmed its support for mammography. "Early detection of cancer saves lives and we continue to recommend mammography for women in their 40s and older," said Andrew von Eschenbach, M.D., director of the NCI. "While we seek improved methods of diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, today mammography remains an important part of our effort to save lives through early detection. Women aged 50 and older should be screened every one to two years. Women who are at higher than average risk of breast cancer should seek expert medical advice about whether they should begin screening before age 40 and the frequency of screening.

If your Doctor has been guilty of misdiagnosis or negligent treatment of your breast cancer symptoms and you have suffered because of it please contact us for a free legal consultation about your legal rights and a confidential case evaluation.

 

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