Breast cancer is among the most prevalent cancers and with early diagnosis and treatment, it can be treated. Breast self-examination is the first and easiest way to ascertain any kind of abnormality that can be confirmed with proper tests.
All breast lumps are not cancer and following imaging test are done for diagnosis: –
- Mammogram is a low-dose X-ray done by compressing breast tissue, which decreases the thickness of the tissue and holds the breast in position, so the doctor can detect any abnormalities however small. Mammogram is performed in both the breasts even if the lump was felt in one breast because of a small risk of having cancer in both breasts. Any suspicious lump should never be ignored, even if a mammogram is normal as up to 5 to 15 percent of new breast cancers are not visible on a mammogram.
- Ultrasound of breast uses sound waves to look at breast tissue and can differentiate whether the lump is a fluid-filled cyst or a solid lump. Solid lumps are more likely to be cancerous.
- MRI of breast is very sensitive method and done for women who carry harmful mutation in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
Breast biopsy or a fine needle aspiration is done to confirm the diagnosis after looking at the cells under a microscope in the lab. This will confirm the diagnosis and type of breast cancer. Every biopsy is sent for further test like ER/PR and Her2, as all these are different types of breast cancers requiring different treatment protocols.
Cancer staging is completed by your doctor to assess how far a cancer has spread, as various modalities of treatment will depend, on the extent of spread of cancer. For this, PET CT Scan or CT Scan can be done in locally advanced cancer centers to see how much it has spread.
Early detection of this cancer is important as it reduces the cost and it can be easily cured with less treatment. Pink is the colour for breast cancer and lets all spread this message so that it can be detected early and cured completely.