How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?

As many as 1 out of every 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer, with hundreds of thousands of new cases of the illness every year. After lung cancer, it is the single deadliest type of cancer for American women. Here is a brief introduction to how breast cancer is diagnosed in patients.

What tests are used to diagnose breast cancer?
There are several tests that can be administered to diagnose breast cancer. Your doctor can do a physical exam to check for lumps, and they can also use a mammogram—a radiological study—to look for early signs of cancer. If a suspicious lump is found, an ultrasound or an MRI scan may be used to try to evaluate it. If necessary, a biopsy—a taking of tissue sample—can be done to check the tissue for cancer.

When should I be tested for breast cancer?
You may want to begin doing annual breast cancer screenings, including mammograms, in your early 40s. After the age of 45, annual mammograms are recommended for all women. After the age of 55, you may want to switch to doing a mammogram once every two years, or as often as your doctor advises. If you have a family history of breast cancer or are a BRCA positive gene carrier, you should speak with your physician because screening is often done earlier and testing may include mammograms along with sonograms and MRI annually. It’s important to be alert to any changes in your breasts, such as developing lumps, discharge, skin changes, that were not there in the past. While not all lumps are cause for concern, you may want to ask your doctor if you are worried about them.

If you are concerned about a misdiagnosis or possible medical error, contact the law firm of Pegalis & Erickson, LLC in New York. For 46 years, we have advocated for people of all ages, in order to help our clients financially and make healthcare safer for everyone. You can reach us today by calling (516) 684-2900.

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