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Female Breast Cancer: Tests

Cancer that forms in tissues of the breast, usually the ducts (tubes that carry milk to the nipple) and lobules (glands that make milk). NIH - National Cancer Institute

Tests for Female Breast Cancer

Tests that examine the breasts are used to detect (find) and diagnose breast cancer.

A doctor should be seen if changes in the breast are noticed. The following tests and procedures may be used:

  • Physical exam and history: An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patient's health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
  • Clinical breast exam (CBE): An exam of the breast by a doctor or other health professional. The doctor will carefully feel the breasts and under the arms for lumps or anything else that seems unusual.
  • Mammogram: An x-ray of the breast...

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What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Referral Guidelines for Suspected Cancer in Adults and Children [Internet]

The guideline is divided into sections which cover in detail specific topics relating to twelve groups of cancers: lung, upper gastrointestinal cancers, lower gastrointestinal cancers, breast cancer, gynaecological cancers, urological cancers, haematological cancers, skin cancers, head and neck including oral cancers, brain/central nervous system cancers, bone and sarcoma, and children’s and young people’s cancers.

Venous Thromboembolism: Reducing the Risk of Venous Thromboembolism (Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism) in Patients Admitted to Hospital

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a term used to include the formation of a blood clot (a thrombus) in a vein which may dislodge from its site of origin to travel in the blood, a phenomenon called embolism. A thrombus most commonly occurs in the deep veins of the legs; this is called deep vein thrombosis. A dislodged thrombus that travels to the lungs is known as a pulmonary embolism.

The Clinical Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Different Surveillance Mammography Regimens After the Treatment for Primary Breast Cancer: Systematic Reviews, Registry Database Analyses and Economic Evaluation

Following primary breast cancer treatment, the early detection of ipsilateral breast tumour recurrence (IBTR) or ipsilateral secondary cancer in the treated breast and detection of new primary cancers in the contralateral breast is beneficial for survival. Surveillance mammography is used to detect these cancers, but the optimal frequency of surveillance and the length of follow-up are unclear.

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Summaries for consumers

Breast Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about tests used to detect or screen for breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Prevention (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about factors that may increase the risk of developing breast cancer and about research aimed at the prevention of this disease.

Male Breast Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of male breast cancer.

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Terms to know

Biopsy
A procedure in which a tiny piece of a body part, such as the colon or liver, is removed for examination with a microscope.
Breast
Glandular organ located on the chest. The breast is made up of connective tissue, fat, and breast tissue.
Duct
In medicine, a tube or vessel of the body through which fluids pass.
Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS)
A noninvasive condition in which abnormal cells are found in the lining of a breast duct.
Lobule
A small lobe or a subdivision of a lobe.
Neoplasm (Tumor)
An abnormal mass of tissue that results when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should. Neoplasms may be benign (not cancer), or malignant (cancer). Also called tumor.
Nipples
In anatomy, the small raised area in the center of the breast.

More about Female Breast Cancer: Tests

Photo of an adult woman

Also called: Malignant neoplasm of the female breast

Other terms to know: See all 7
Biopsy, Breast, Duct

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