Breast Cancer - Screening, Detection and Diagnosis

The sooner breast cancer gets diagnosed, the better your odds of getting successful treatment.

That's why it’s important to get mammograms as recommended, to be familiar with how your breasts usually look, and to report any changes to your doctor ASAP. Why?

  • Breast cancer risk is on the rise: The lifetime risk of a woman getting breast cancer in the U.S. was around 5%, or 1 in 20, in 1940. Now it’s 12% or more than 1 in 8.
  • Finding breast cancer earlier boosts your survival odds: Women who have breast cancer screening mammograms are much less likely to die from the disease. This depends on:
  • The quality of the test
  • Getting screened as often as you need to
  • Doing what your doctor says afterward

Clinical breast exams and mammography are screening tests. At higher risk breast MRI can also be used for some women. Powerful magnetic field and radio waves are used during Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), which produces detailed images of structures within the breast. If breast cancer is detected either by screening tests or from symptoms diagnostic tests precautionary measures are given to the woman who is suspected of having breast cancer. Diagnostic tests include Mammogram (X-ray of the breast), Breast ultrasound (uses sound waves to produce pictures of structures), Removing a sample of breast cells for testing (biopsy), Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). These diagnostic tests confirm the presence or absence of breast cancer and give more information about breast cancer like whether it has traveled outside the breast or not. Many tests are used to monitor how well therapies are working after the diagnosis of breast cancer. These tests after diagnosis are also used to check any signs of recurrence. These tests include mammography and medical history, physical examination. The patient should visit the doctor every 3 to 6 months for the 3 years after the treatment.

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