Based on the outcome of your imaging procedures, our diagnostic team will interpret the results and provide them to your physician. The results will be used to create your personalized treatment plan.
The steps taken to evaluate a new breast lump, a new breast symptom or a change in the mammogram are very important. They help your doctor make a definitive diagnosis while minimizing your discomfort. Your healthcare team will choose the best tests for you, so they can fully understand your cancer before recommending the best type of treatment for you. The kind of tests performed will depend on a number of factors, which will be discussed with you.
During your first clinic visit, a thorough medical history and physical examination will be done. When taking your medical history, you may be asked about your symptoms and other factors that may be related to breast cancer risk (e.g., family or personal history of cancer). During the initial physical examination, you will have a thorough breast examination. You also may be assessed for any changes that show if the cancer has spread.
During the breast examination, you will be evaluated for the following:
- Changes in the texture or size of your breasts
- Changes in the nipples or skin of the breast
- Lumps or masses
- Enlarged lymph nodes under the arm (axillary nodes)
- Along the breast bone (internal mammary nodes)
- Near the collarbone (clavicular nodes)
- At the sides of the neck (cervical nodes)
Following a thorough medical history and physical examination, breast imaging studies, such as mammograms and ultrasounds or even breast MRI, may be recommended. If your doctor finds a suspicious breast lump, or if the imaging tests show an area of concern, he or she may recommend a biopsy, which is usually performed in a minimally invasive fashion. If the biopsy shows cancer cells are present, other imaging and lab tests may be needed.