Since breast cancer is a raging problem among women these days, so the medical fraternity of the world is constantly researching on the discovery of more advanced treatments and testing methods. This is a form of cancer that develops as a malignant tumor or a number of carcinogenic cysts in the internal portion of the any of the breasts or both the breasts.
Although breast cancer is generally not a life threatening disease, most of the times the affected breast is surgically removed in order to prevent the disease from spreading further. Gone are those days when breast cancer was considered as a fatal disease. The numbers of breast cancer tests available nowadays help women detect even the minutest of sign at the initial stage and reach out for the necessary treatment. So, let us know the major breast cancer testing methods available now.
Major Breast Cancer Testing Methods
Home Detection of Breast Cancer
This is the most primitive and primary method of testing breasts for breast cancer. It must be done by every woman in order to remain sanguine that they have not developed any mysterious lump inside their breasts. You can carry out this form of breast testing in the privacy of your home. Doctors recommend that this test should be performed at least once a month.
The basic method of this test is that you have to stand in front of the mirror keeping your breasts naked. Now the hand towards the direction of the breast that needs to be detected first should be raised above your head. Next, you have to press your breast gently with the other hand in order to detect if there is any suspicious growth. The other breast should also be examined in the similar manner.
Clinical Breast Examination
In case if you suspect the presence of any growth then you should go for clinical breast examination. In this method, you have to visit a clinic and consult a doctor. The skilled medical practitioner present there will perform a manual testing of your breasts in order to identify whether there is any lump or abnormality present in the same or not.
The medical practitioner will request you to change the position of your arms and body as and when required so that the detection could be done properly. You might be asked a few questions as well about possible symptoms you are facing or any complication you may be suffering from. The feedback you provide will assist the process of breast cancer testing.
Whether the doctor detects any abnormality in the initial stage or not, your feedback and other findings might make him ask you to get a mammogram done. Mammogram is actually X-ray of the breast. In mammogram testing, you will be asked to stand before the X-ray machine with your chest bare so that the rays can pass through your affected breast freely.
Next, the impression of your breasts will be taken for further studying. In situations when the doctor feels that there is something that needs further detection, you might be asked to get a diagnostic mammogram done. This system of mammogram precisely evaluates the abnormality detected in the breast in the primary mammogram so that doctors can arrive at a concrete conclusion.
Ultrasonography of the Breast
When the above tests affirm that there is a detectable growth inside your breasts, the doctor might ask you to go for ultrasound of your breast. In this process, the sound rays emitted from a specialized device are passed through the skin. Eventually, it produces images of formations that are present deep within the skin.
Ultrasound of the breast helps the doctor identify whether the growth inside your breast is fluid-filled or a solid mass. This test will further help the doctor in detecting if the growth is benign or carcinogenic. In case if a solid mass is detected, ultrasound will be followed by other forms of breast cancer testing.
When the doctor discovers that the abnormality present inside your breast is in the form of a solid mass, he will conduct another test to find out whether the tumor is cancerous or not. Now he will recommend you to go for a biopsy of your affected breast. During this method a small portion of breast cell will be extracted from the lump with the help of radiology or minute manual surgery. In case of radiological biopsy, an ultrasound is often done simultaneously in order to direct the instrument towards the exact location where the growth has been detected. Thus, you may be asked to go for another ultrasound too.
The sample collected as a result will now be sent to the laboratory for further investigations. During investigation the medical professionals at the laboratory will try to detect the nature of the cells presented in the collected sample. If they find that the cells are malignant, they will scrutinize further in order to understand the type of cancerous cells present in the same, and the grade and aggressiveness of the cancerous cells. Moreover, their study will try to find out whether these carcinogenic cells have hormone receptors. It is certainly needless to mention that biopsy is a complex breast cancer testing method and it may take a couple of weeks for the doctors to generate a report.
MRI scanning or Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the breasts is the most modernized and reliable breast cancer testing method. It might be a bit expensive in comparison to other forms of imaging, but it provides a 3-dimensional image of the object that is scanned to assist the detection.
Magnetic and radio waves are used to create images of the internal parts of the body. The same thing is applicable in case of breast cancer MRI too. This method of testing is generally recommended by the doctors when breast cancer has been confirmed in the biopsy report. Doctors use MRI scan report in order to understand the coverage of cancer and if the other breast is affected with the disease too. You can consider this as the final screening before surgery.
Besides these major tests, other breast cancer testing methods are also followed by the doctors depending upon the rate of aggravation and type of breast cancer. The most popular ones are complete blood count test, CT scan or tomography, PET scan or Positron Emission Tomography and bone scanning.
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