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Diagnosis and Tests


Lt Col Flemings
If you have a symptom or a screening test result that suggests you may have cancer, your provider will conduct further tests. The first step usually involves obtaining detailed information about your personal and family history. You will also be asked about any symptoms you may be experiencing, and about your risk factors for breast cancer and benign breast conditions.

Maj Patel
Next, your provider will conduct a thorough physical examination of your breast to discover any lumps or abnormalities. Your provider will feel the texture and size of your breast, and determine the relationship to the skin and chest muscles. Any changes in the nipples or the skin of the breast will be noted. The lymph nodes under your arms and above the collarbones may be felt because swelling or firmness of these lymph nodes may indicate the spread of breast cancer.

Lt Col Flemings
In addition to the medical history and physical exam, imaging tests may be ordered. The two main imaging tests for diagnosing breast cancer are the mammogram and the ultrasound. The results of these tests provide pictures of tissues inside your breast. After the imaging tests, your provider will determine if you need a follow-up exam at a later date. Your provider may suggest that you have a biopsy to look for cancer cells.