Around 44,500 people are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Although the exact cause is still unknown, we know that it begins when the breast tissues start to multiply in a rapid and uncontrolled way. The symptoms of this type of cancer are often difficult to identify but fortunately there are a number of tests your doctor can perform. In this article I will be discussing three of these tests.
1) PHYSICAL INSPECTION:- This is usually the first breast cancer test your doctor will perform. Although most lumps can be found during self examination there are certain abnormalities you may not notice. A trained doctor who has experience examining breasts for signs of cancer is much more likely to spot any of these abnormalities that you may have missed. If they do notice anything they will then be able to recommend further tests.
2) MAMMOGRAM:- This is an x-ray for the breasts. It is very useful for identifying any abnormalities in the breast such as lumps or calcium deposits. These abnormalities may turn out to be early signs of breast cancer so a mammogram is a good way to detect any early warning signs. However, it cannot be used to determine whether these abnormalities are cancerous so if your doctor does notice anything during the mammogram they may call you back for further testing.
3) FINE NEEDLE ASPIRATION CYTOLOGY (FNAC):- This breast cancer test involves inserting a fine needle into any lumps or abnormalities that your doctor has discovered. They will then be able to to determine whether the lump contains fluid (and is therefore non-cancerous) or is solid (and therefore potentially cancerous). If the lump is solid the needle will allow your doctor to extract some of the cells for further examination under the microscope. This examination will then reveal whether or not the cells are cancerous.
Breast cancer is one of the most common types in the UK and can prove fatal if it is ignored. However, when identified early it is usually very treatable. If you notice anything different about your breasts then it is better to be safe than sorry. Go see your doctor and get yourself tested right away. It could be a crucial step towards combating this type of cancer.
Whilst every intention has been made to make this article accurate and informative, it is intended for general information only. Breast cancer is a very serious, life threatening condition and you should discuss any concerns, treatments or lifestyle changes fully with your doctor.