Breast Cancer Screening Tests

on Monday, 30 April 2012. Posted in Tests For Women, Women's Health, Women's Screening Tests, Must Have Tests Written By: Shruti Gaddam

Get yourself screened in time against one of the deadliest cancers

Breast Cancer Screening Tests
Breast cancer refers to a cancerous growth that occurs in the breast tissue when some cells are abnormal and begin growing in an uncontrollable manner. Depending on the site in the tissue where the cancer starts growing, breast cancer is generally of two types: lobular carcinoma and ductal carcinoma.

Breast cancer seems to be getting partial towards younger women these days since the incidence of this cancer is being seen in women as young as the ones in their 30s. So, it is imperative for women to get screened for breast cancer from time to time.

Breast cancer screening tests are a range of tests used to detect the presence of malignant cells, tissue or lumps in the breasts. These have two benefits: Firstly, in case there is a cancer developing in the breast, it can be detected timely. Secondly, you can be reassured and not worry about the cancer unnecessarily.

Here are important breast cancer screening tests, women must know about:

Superficial examination

Superficial breast examination can be and should be regularly done by every woman. Feel all parts of your breast with circular motions of fingers and try to notice any kind of abnormal lumps in the breast. Squeeze the nipples and be alarmed if there is any reddish, greenish, brownish or yellowish discharge or blood oozing out. You should also feel for lumps around the breast area and moving up towards the sides, close to the underarms. Look for changes in the shape of the breast, wart growth, dimples on the breast, shrunk nipples and any other kind of abnormality.

Clinical breast cancer screening

Breast cancer Trivia

Breast cancer can have heredity roots.

96 percent women who are detected with breast cancer in the initial stages are completely cured within five years.

Although manual examination should be regularly done: it cannot unearth all tumors. So, yearly examinations by clinically proven methods are essential for breast cancer detection. Some such methods are –

Mammogram: Mammogram is the most common and successful screening test for breast cancer. The test detects initial stage cancers very effectively. Although it detects tumors, it does not tell if the tumor is malignant. The test is mandatory once in two years for women between the ages of 50 and 75 years. For women above 40 years of age, doctor’s suggestions should be followed for getting the test done. The test is cost effective as well and very safe.

Breast MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI of the breast is a more powerful breast screening test. MRI can differentiate between malignant and benign tumors in the breast. The major advantage of MRI is that it cuts the necessity of going in for a biopsy to check if the tumor is malignant. The test is expensive but effective.

Breast ultrasound: Ultrasound scanning can detect lumps and differentiate between cysts and tumors. However, it cannot differentiate between benign and malignant tumors. Ultrasound can detect the exact location of the tumor. High frequency sound waves are used in this test and it is considered safe since it does not involve passage of radiations or X-rays into the body.

Breast biopsy: Biopsy is not the first stage of screening. It is conducted to confirm if the tumor in the breast is malignant. Biopsies are of different kinds and the choice of test depends upon the tumor. Your doctor can recommend the most apt test. This is usually an invasive process where even a small amount of cells are extracted from the tumor and tested for malignancy. Minimally invasive breast biopsy is a kind of biopsy where the breast is not opened but a needle is inserted into the breast to extract cells.

Besides these screening tests, ductal lavage test is conducted in case an abnormality is found in the nipple or the milk ducts. Sentinel node biopsy is used to check if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the underarm area.

If you are 40 years of age or above, breast screening should not be ignored. Early detection of cancer is one of the best ways to beat the disease and survive it.

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