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Breast Cancer Testing: An Overview

Breast cancer starts when mutations in your breast cells cause unusual growth of breast cells, causing a tumour being created in the breast tissue. These cancerous mutations can transfer to other body parts and may cause cancer in many other parts of the human body.

Many different factors may cause an increase in your chances of developing breast cancer. You might have to visit your doctor for a thorough examination to determine if you’re at risk of breast cancer.

Your doctor may perform a genetic test for breast cancer, ask and gather your family history, and personal medical history and discuss any symptoms you might be facing. Your doctor may also suggest a series of tests to detect breast abnormalities.

Diagnosing breast cancer:

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There are specific breast cancer tests done to detect the abnormalities growing within your breast, and these may include:

• Mammograms: these are specified X-ray images that help detect changes or abnormal growth in your breasts. A mammogram is usually done to prevent breast cancer.

• Ultrasonography: This test involves using sound waves to take pictures of the breast tissues inside your breast; this helps detect any breast lumps or abnormalities growing.

• Positron emission tomography scan: This is also known as a PET scan; this uses a particular type of dies to detect and point out any suspicious areas. In this test, the doctor injects a special dye in your veins and clicks pictures with a scanner.

• Magnetic resonance imaging: This test is widely known as an MRI; it uses magnets and radio waves to clear pictures specifying all details of the structure within your breast.

If anything is detected in these tests, your healthcare provider may perform a breast tissue biopsy and get the sample tested from a pathology lab.

Stages of breast cancer:

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The staging process determines the amount of cancer detected in your body, which depends on several factors like the size and location of the tumour in your breast. The stages of cancer are:

Stage 0: This stage is non-invasive, suggesting that it has not yet spread out of the milk ducts.

Stage 1: The cancerous cells have spread out in the breast tissue nearby.

Stage 2: At this stage, the tumour is smaller than two centimetres and has spread in the underarm lymph nodes or is more significant than five centimetres but hasn’t spread in the underarm lymph nodes.

Stage 3: Cancer has spread far from its origin at this stage; it may have taken over the nearby tissues and lymph nodes but hasn’t affected the organs.

Stage 4: Cancer has taken over areas far away from your breasts, including your bones, liver, lungs, or brain.


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If you feel any changes in your breasts, schedule an appointment and get a breast cancer test done. If anything is detected through the tests, your doctor may do further testing to determine the stage of your cancer and plan your treatment accordingly. Unfortunately, nobody has the same symptoms of breast cancer, and most of the time, people fail to detect them while self-examining; thus, regular mammograms should be prioritised.