If initial screenings indicate that breast cancer may be present, your doctor will conduct further tests to confirm a diagnosis.
For more information, call 775-982-8100.
Signs & Symptoms
Talk to your doctor if you notice changes in your breasts, especially:
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast, the underarm, or around the collar bone.
- A change in the size or shape of the breast.
- A change in the color or feel of the skin of the breast or nipple area (such as dimples, puckering, redness, swelling, or scaliness).
- Clear or bloody nipple discharge.
- Changes in the nipple, such as an open ulcer, a new inverting of the nipple, or unusual tenderness.
If your doctor suspects the cancer has spread outside of the breast, he or she may order a CT/CAT scan of the chest. These scans use multiple X-rays at different angles to create 3D images of the body to help doctors determine the stage of the cancer and how far the cancer has spread. CT scans also help doctors visualize the treatment’s progress.
A biopsy is the removal of a small amount of tissue to test for disease. In the case of breast cancer, doctors usually sample the suspicious tissue with a hollow needle or a small cut in the skin. Your doctor will send the tissue samples to a laboratory where a pathologist will search for cancer cells in the samples under a microscope.
The pathologist who studied the biopsy will send a report to your doctor. This report will contain information on the type of cancer and a grade based on the how abnormal the cells look. The report will also include predictions on how likely the cancer is to grow, spread throughout the body and recur after treatment. Your doctor will use this information to craft a tailored treatment plan.