What Is Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that occurs when the cells in the breast tissue start to divide and grow uncontrollably. These abnormal cells can form a lump or tumor in the breast, and if left untreated, they can potentially spread to other parts of the body through a process called metastasis. Breast cancer can affect both women and men, but it is much more common in women.
Here are some common methods used for breast cancer diagnosis:
Physical Examination of the Breast
During a physical examination, a healthcare provider checks for any lumps, changes in breast size or shape, and other abnormalities in the breast and the surrounding areas, including the armpits.
A mammogram is a type of X-ray imaging that is used to detect breast cancer. It involves compressing the breast between two plates and taking X-ray images. Mammograms can often detect breast cancer at an early stage, even before a lump can be felt.
Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the breast tissue. It is particularly useful for evaluating lumps or abnormalities detected during a physical examination or on a mammogram.
A biopsy is a crucial diagnostic procedure where a sample of tissue is taken from the suspicious area in the breast for further examination. In the case of breast cancer, a needle-guided biopsy is commonly used. This involves using imaging techniques (such as ultrasound or mammography) to guide a needle to the suspicious area and remove a tissue sample. The excised tissue sample is then sent to a pathology laboratory for analysis to determine if cancer is present and, if so, what type of breast cancer it is.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI uses a strong magnet and radio waves to create detailed images of the breast tissue. It is a valuable tool for breast cancer diagnosis and can provide additional information, especially for women at high risk or in cases where other imaging tests are inconclusive. MRI is considered safe as it does not use radiation.
The choice of diagnostic tests may vary depending on individual circumstances, such as age, risk factors, and the specific findings from previous tests. Early detection through these diagnostic methods is crucial for improving the chances of successful treatment and better outcomes for individuals diagnosed with breast cancer. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider and follow recommended screening guidelines to detect breast cancer at an early and treatable stage.