Breast Cancer Detection Techniques

People around the world have become very conscious of the fact that cancer has swept the world.  They want to make sure that they aren’t at risk.  One of the most common questions that is asked, is how is breast cancer detected?  Let’s take a look at some of the modern breast cancer detection techniques that are out there.

Physical Breast Examination

The first test that is usually given to determine if breast cancer is present is a physical breast examination.  The breast is felt with a gloved hand to determine if any lumps are present.  A doctor will perform this at every physical examination.  Women are encouraged to perform their own physical breast examinations at home too.  If anything out of the normal is detected, further tests will be conducted.

Mammograms

A mammogram is an x-ray photograph that is taken of a woman’s breast or breasts.  These x-ray images are taken when it isn’t suspected that a woman has cancer.  They are taken regularly in order to attempt to detect cancer in its earliest stages.  If a mammogram catches cancer early, the chances of being able to successfully treat it go up significantly.

Ultrasound

An ultrasound is a test that is similar to an x-ray, it allows a doctor to image inside a woman’s breast.  If an abnormality is discovered further tests will be used to detect cancer.  Also like a mammogram, ultrasounds can be utilized to catch cancer early.  An ultrasound is also used to detect and image a baby in a mother’s womb.

Blood Cell Count

A blood test can be used to determine whether or not your blood cell counts appear to be the right levels.  Cancer tends to lower blood cell levels and this can lead to other issues.  Blood count levels are not a definitive way to detect cancer.  They are merely an aid in detecting a potential cancer issue.  Low blood cell counts can be a sign of other issues to, that is why they are not definitive.

Blood Marker Test

If there is a suspicion that you might have breast cancer, another type of blood test may be ordered.  This test draws blood and the blood is checked for specific markers that are known to indicate that a person might have cancer.  These markers are also known as cancer markers.  Two of these types of markers are proteins and circulating tumor cells.  Circulating tumor cells are pieces of cancer cells that break off and float through the blood stream.

Breast Biopsy

A breast biopsy is a cancer detection technique that is used when someone is suspected of having cancer.  Typically a biopsy is conducted when an abnormality is detected using a different method of detection.  Using surgical tools, a medical expert will remove a sample of the suspicious area.  Sometimes fluid is removed instead of a tissue sample.  Biopsies are used to determine if cancer is actually present but it can also be used to determine if cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Breast Cancer Index Test

Unlike most other cancer tests, the Breast Cancer Index Test is used to determine if cancer will come back after treatment.  Utilizing this test, doctors can tell if cancer is likely to return five years after treatment.  This test can also tell if a woman would benefit from continuing hormonal therapy for 5 more years.

There are more ways to detect breast cancer, the total number of them is too long to go through individually.  Especially since some are specialty tests.  Our detailed list contains only some of the most common tests.  Here are some other tests that can be used.

  • Blood Chemistries
  • Bone Scans
  • Breast MRIs
  • CAT Scans
  • Digital Tomosynthesis
  • Fish Test
  • IHC Test
  • Mammaprint Test
  • Mammostrat Test
  • MarginProbe
  • Oncotype DX Tests
  • PET Scan
  • Thermography
  • Tumor Genomic Tests

 

Cancer is never fun, but detection methods are getting more and more advanced.  We can now catch breast cancer extremely early and because of that, we have dramatically increased the chances of successful treatment.  Make sure that both you and your family are aware of these detection methods so that you can reduce your chances of cancer. Visit our Texas surgeons today to learn more.

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