General Article

Breast Cancer Diagnostics

Researchers predict that, before the year 2019 is over, 268,600 women and 2,670 men will be diagnosed with new cases of breast cancer in the United States. The odds of successful treatment are better the earlier the cancer is detected and diagnosed. Therefore, doctors recommend a number of diagnostic and screening procedures to patients, especially those particularly at risk for breast cancer.

Some of the diagnostic procedures mentioned below involve advanced imaging Toms River NJ. Others require no special equipment and can be performed at home.

1. Mammogram

A mammogram is probably what most people think of first when they think of breast cancer diagnostics. Mammography involves taking x-ray pictures of the breast to identify any abnormalities. It can be very effective at detecting signs of cancer early, but not all patients can benefit from mammography. For example, dense breast tissue can interfere with the visualization.

2. Ultrasound

For patients who are not good candidates for a mammogram, an ultrasound may be the best alternative. This technique produces pictures of internal structures by bouncing sound waves off of them. If there is a question whether a breast lump is a cyst filled with fluid or a solid mass, an ultrasound can be effective at finding out.

3. Biopsy

A biopsy involves harvesting a small sample of cells from the breast tissue and looking at them under a microscope. Your doctor will use ultrasound, x-ray, or another imaging technique to guide the needle device into the correct area to collect the sample. This is the only definitive way to make a breast cancer diagnosis.

4. Breast Exam

This involves physically palpating the breasts and the armpits to check for lumps, swollen lymph nodes, and other abnormalities. Your doctor may perform a breast exam at a check-up, and you can also perform self-breast exams from the comfort of your own home.

A combination of diagnostics may be required for a full diagnosis. Your doctor should be able to explain your screening options to you.