Last week I discussed Breast Cancer. This week I thought I’d talk about the diagnosis and treatment.
The two things women should be doing is a monthly self breast check for any lumps or changes. Always remember to go under the arm and check the lymph nodes in the armpit.
Diagnostic mammography is an x-ray that uses small doses of radiation to make an image of the breast. It is used to follow up on abnormal results of a screening mammography or a clinical breast exam. Mammography can also be used to find an abnormal area during a biopsy.
If there are abnormalities in a mammogram, they may do an ultrasound. An ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to make images of parts of the body. It is used to find out if a breast lump is a solid tumor or a cyst. Doctors may also use ultrasound to guide them to the area to be tested during a biopsy.
If the diagnosis is possible cancer a biopsy will be done. During a biopsy, the doctor removes tissues or cells from the body so they can be tested in a lab and confirm whether or not cancer cells are found in the sample. Most biopsies are done in a hospital, and you can go home when the biopsy is finished. There are a variety of biopsies. Fine needle aspiration(FNA) uses a very thin needle and syringe to remove a small amount of tissue from a lump. Mammito biopsy – similar to a fine needle but does several at once. Core biopsy uses a special hollow needle to remove tissue from the body. Streotactic core biopsy uses 3-D, or stereotactic, images to find the exact location of a tumor or suspicious area in the breast. Doctors use these images to guide them during a core biopsy. Stereotactic core biopsy is used to take samples from lumps that can be seen on an imaging test but that can’t be felt in the breast. Wire localization biopsy uses mammography to place a fine wire into a suspicious area in the breast that can’t be felt. The wire is left in place to guide the surgeon to the area during a surgical biopsy. Surgical, or open, biopsy removes all or part of a lump or a suspicious area. Lymph node biopsy is a surgical procedure that removes lymph nodes under the arm (called the axillary lymph nodes).
Treatment varies but usually it’s surgery. Either a lumpectomy or mastectomy. And may also include radiation, chemotherapy or hormone therapy.