Sunday, April 4, 2010

Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

  It is likely that your doctor has suspected the presence of breast cancer:

    *      Due to an abnormality revealed by mammography screening;
    *      Because you would have reported a change in your breast or nipple;
    *      After examining your breasts and you have asked about your health and your personal and family medical history.

If you have a lump in one breast, your doctor palpated to determine the size, shape and texture, and check if it is easily mobile. Often, the masses are different from non-cancerous tumor masses to the touch. To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor will use some analysis, which will also establish the "stage" and "grade" (degree of malignancy) of cancer. It may be that you have to spend any of the following tests.

Imaging Techniques

These techniques allow to carry out a thorough examination of tissues, organs and bones. Radiography, ultrasonography, computed tomography [CT] and bone scan are all means for your health care team to obtain an image of the tumor and whether it has spread. These tests are usually painless and do not require anesthesia.

Even if you had a mammogram screening, diagnostic mammography will be performed. During this procedure, we take more photographs of the breast that appeared abnormal on the mammogram. A mammogram can lead to discomfort and can even be painful because the breast is compressed between two plates of glass. You must remain still for less than a minute while taking mammograms.


A biopsy is usually required to establish with certainty a diagnosis of cancer. This procedure involves removing cells for examination under a microscope. If the cells are cancerous, it will then determine how quickly they multiply. There are several types of breast biopsies.

    *      The fine needle aspiration biopsy uses a thin needle to remove fluid or cells from the mass. The procedure is quick but can be uncomfortable because of breast tenderness.

    *      During a core needle biopsy, the doctor inserts a needle into a small incision in the breast to remove one or more samples of breast tissue. If necessary, we will use the ultrasound or X-ray to guide the needle into the ground and a local anesthetic will be used to numb the area under consideration. After the biopsy, it is possible that the breast is sensitive and bruises appear for a short period.

    *      A biopsy is a surgical procedure that involves removing part or all of a lump in one breast or breast tissue suspected. It may be of two types. During a biopsy incision, a sample is a mass or abnormal area. In an excisional biopsy, we remove the entire mass or suspicious tissue. The biopsy may take place either in the doctor's office or at the hospital, outpatient clinic (you will not spend the night in the hospital). A local anesthetic will be used to numb the area under consideration.

Laboratory Tests

If the sample used for the biopsy contains cancer cells, your doctor may request further analysis of breast tissue removed. These tests will have a better idea of the state of cancer and offer the best treatment options.

    *      The analysis of hormone receptor status is used to detect the presence of certain hormone receptors. The breast cancer cells bearing these receptors need estrogen and progesterone to grow. If there are hormone receptors in the biopsy sample, we say that the tumor is hormone dependent (hormone receptor positive). Knowing hormone receptor status of the tumor helps predict how it will evolve and whether it is likely to respond to hormonal therapy. The tumors are more common in a hormone-menopausal women.

    *      The test for detection of Her2 gene to verify the presence of an oncogene that regulates the protein called Her2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, or receptor 2 human epidermal growth factor). This protein is found on the surface of breast cells and stimulates their growth, some breast cancer cells contain much more than others. If there is an excessive amount of Her2 protein or copies of the gene that governs, we say that the tumor is Her2-positive. Breast Her2-positive do not evolve like other breast cancers and require special treatment.

    *      It could happen that blood tests are required. Using samples of your blood, it verifies the amount and appearance of different types of blood cells. The doctor can see whether your organs are functioning normally. Test results may also provide evidence suggesting the presence or absence of cancer and, where applicable, the spread of the disease.

1 comment:

  1. Medical diagnosis of a breast cancer patient usually experience lump near the underarm or breast, a sudden change in breast size and bloody discharge from the nipple. It is really important for women to detect such symptoms to treat it accordingly as early as possible.