What is breast cancer? Just like any kind of cancer, breast cancer consists of abnormal cell growth. These abnormal cells transfer to parts of the body where the cells are not usually found. The condition is referred to as metastatic when it happens.
This is one of the leading causes of death in American Women. Breast cancer has a high chance to affect women as they age. It has been found that it affects mostly white women than black women. However, black women also get affected and die due to breast cancer often than white women. It very rarely affects men.
What is Screening of Breast Cancer?
It is the method for determining signs of disease like breast cancer prior to the symptoms. The main aim of screening tests is to detect cancer at the starting stage so that it can be cured and treated. In some cases, the screening test determines cancer in a very slow-growing or very small status. Such cancers have fewer chances to cause illness or death during the lifetime of the person.
Scientists are continuously testing to find out details regarding people who are at high risk of certain kinds of cancer. They calculate by checking the patient’s age, certain exposures during lifetime and their family history. Doctors consider all this information and recommend who is eligible for cancer screening, or which screening tests to conduct and how frequently to perform the test. If the doctor is suggesting a screening test, it does not mean that you have cancer.
Remember screening test is also performed as a regular health check-up even if symptoms for cancer are not present. Women with a strong family history of cancer would be suggested for genetic testing. If the result of the screening test is abnormal, it is necessary to take more tests to determine whether the patient has cancer. It is referred to as diagnostic tests instead of screening tests.
Breast Cancer Screening
Breast cancer screening tests are conducted on individuals with the least harm and maximum benefits. The cancer screening trials are conducted here accurately to diagnose and treat breast-related issues. It decreases the individual’s chance of dying due to cancer if detected in the initial stages. For certain kinds of cancer, there are high chances of recovery especially when the disease is determined and cured at the starting stage.
One of the common screening tests to detect cancer in mammograms. It is an x-ray picture of the breast. It helps in determining tumors or lumps that are too small to feel. Mammography helps in finding DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ). In this condition, the abnormal cells stripe the breast duct. For some women, it becomes hostile to cancer.
Mammography has fewer chances to determine breast tumors in individuals with thick breast tissue. It is challenging to determine the tumor when women have dense breast tissue. Both dense breast tissue and tumors appear white on a mammogram. Younger women have more chances to have thick breast tissue.
Magnetic resonance imaging(MRI)
MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging is also used to determine women who have high chances of breast cancer. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an important procedure that utilizes radio waves, a computer and a magnet to make a collection of clear images of areas of the breast to detect cancer. MRI procedure is also referred to as NMRI or nuclear magnetic resonance imaging, but it does not utilize any x-rays. The best part is that women will not be exposed to radiation. Some of the factors that result in high risks are explained here:
- Certain genetic syndromes like Cowden Syndrome or Li-Fraumeni.
- A family history (sister, daughter or mother – first-degree relative) with breast cancer.
- Some gene changes like changes in the BRCA2 or BRCA1 genes.
An MRI has high chances than mammography to determine breast mass or form that is actually not cancer.
Other screening tests conducted as part of clinical trials are:
The clinical breast exam of the breast is performed by health professionals or doctors. The physician will cautiously test under the arms and breasts for lumps or other mass that look unusual. Breast exams and screening are performed for men and women to determine lumps in breasts or other changes. Performing breast exams on a regular basis and early detection helps a great deal to treat breast cancer.
It is the method of obtaining cells from the breast tissue and checking under a microscope.
It is recommended to consult a physician and follow the recommended tests to determine the cause and treat breast cancer earlier.