Tests for Breast Cancer
Ways to Detect Breast Cancer:
Understanding Mammogram Results
Sentinel Node Biopsy
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
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.