Early detection and early treatment are the best ways to fight any cancer — and that can be especially true of breast cancer. There are many tools for breast cancer diagnosis and the American Cancer Society recommends examinations should be tailored to the individual: An annual mammogram for normal-risk women over 40 or an annual mammogram and MRI for high-risk women starting at age Both the ACS and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have backed away from breast self-exams as a recommendation to diagnose breast cancer — because the average person may not know the difference between true breast cancer symptoms and other physical changes, which may not be cancer-related.
A core needle biopsy uses a long, hollow tube to extract a sample of tissue. Here, a biopsy of a suspicious breast lump is being done. The sample is sent to a laboratory for testing. During a breast MRI, you lie on your stomach on a padded scanning table.
It helps to have your hands slippery when checking your breasts. Shower gel or soap will make it easier to slide your hand over your breasts. You can be referred to a public hospital for this or you might choose to go to a private clinic.
It can sometimes detect breast cancer before there are any signs or symptoms such as a lump you can feel. Cancer Australia notes in its position statement that detection of breast cancer while it is still small and confined to the breast provides the best chance of effective treatment. Benefits of early detection include increased survival, increased treatment options and improved quality of life.
While no single test can detect all breast cancers early, Breastcancer. Over the years, there has been some debate over just how valuable breast self-examination is in detecting breast cancer early and increasing the likelihood of survival. For example, a study of nearlywomen in Russia and China reported that breast self-examination does not have a meaningful impact on breast cancer survival rates and may even cause harm by prompting unnecessary biopsies removal and examination of suspicious tissue. Because of the ongoing uncertainty raised by this and other studies, the American Cancer Society no longer recommends breast self-exam as a screening tool for women with an average risk of breast cancer.
There are many different signs and symptoms of breast cancer, so checking your breasts for any unusual change is important. Common breast cancer signs and symptoms include:. Pain in your breasts is not normally a sign of breast cancer, but it can be if it is associated with other symptoms. Checking your breasts only takes a few minutes.