Open chat

Breast cancer

What is breast cancer screening ?

  • Screening examinations are tests performed to find disease before symptoms begin. The goal of screening is to detect disease at its earliest and most treatable stage.
  • In breast cancer screening, a woman who has no signs or symptoms of breast cancer undergoes a breast examination such as:
  • Mammography: A low-dose x-ray exam that produces images of the breast called a mammogram. Mammography plays a central part in early detection of breast cancers because it can often show changes in the breast before a patient or physician can feel them. Research has shown that annual mammograms can lead to early detection of breast cancers when they are most curable and breast-conservation therapies are available. A mammogram may also find ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), abnormal cells in the lining of a breast duct that may develop into invasive cancer. Mammography is the only breast cancer screening tool known to reduce deaths from the disease.

Who should consider breast cancer screening – and why ?

  • Breast Cancer is cancer that forms in tissues of the breast, usually in the ducts (tubes that carry milk to the nipple) and lobules (glands that make milk). It occurs in both men and women, although male breast cancer is rare.
  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in American women. About one woman in eight will be diagnosed with the disease over the course of her lifetime. A woman's risk of developing breast cancer increases with:
    • age
    • a family history of the disease
    • a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation
    • beginning menstruation at an early age
    • older age at birth of first child or never having given birth
    • breast tissue that is dense
    • use of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone
    • obesity
    • consumption of alcoholic beverages

Women at high risk for breast cancer include those who have :

  • a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation
  • a first-degree relative (mother, father, brother, sister or child) with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, though she herself has not had genetic testing
  • a lifetime risk of breast cancer of about 20 to 25 percent or greater, according to risk assessment tools that are based mainly on a family history that includes both their mother's and father's side
  • had radiation therapy to the chest when they were between the ages of 10 and 30 years
  • a genetic disease such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome, or hereditary diffuse gastric cancer, or have a first-degree relative with one of these diseases
  • a personal history of breast cancer

How is breast cancer screening performed ?

Screening Mammography

Mammography is a type of x-ray examination used to examine the breasts. This type of imaging involves exposing the breasts to a small amount of radiation to obtain pictures of the inside of the breasts. See the women imaging page for more information about this exam

Breast Tomosynthesis

Breast tomosynthesis, also called three-dimensional (3-D) mammography, is an advanced type of breast imaging that uses low-dose x-rays and computer reconstruction to create images of the breast. It aids in the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer before women experience symptoms. Breast tomosynthesis is not yet available in all imaging facilities.

Breast Ultrasound

Breast ultrasound is a type of imaging that uses sound waves to create pictures of the inside of the breast. Breast ultrasound can capture images of areas of the breast that may be difficult to see with mammography. It can also help to determine whether a breast lump is a solid mass or a fluid-filled cyst. See the women imaging page for more information about this exam.

Breast MRI

During breast MRI, a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer are used to produce detailed pictures of the inside of the breasts. MRI is helpful in finding abnormalities that are not visible with mammography or ultrasound. In general, MRI is used only in women at high risk for breast cancer. See the women imaging page for more information about this exam

Make an Appointment

Examination Type
Preferred Branch