Breast is a complex organ in terms of diagnostic approach. Most women will experience some findings or issues in their breasts during their lifetime, but only about 1 in 8 will develop cancer. It is of paramount importance, therefore, to diagnose and treat this cancer in a timely manner.

Early diagnosis is the most important weapon we have against breast cancer. To achieve this goal, the following steps are necessary:

Clinical examination: It should be performed by a specialized breast surgeon or mastologist at least once a year. Clinical palpation is extremely important for monitoring and early diagnosis. Based on the examination, decisions are made regarding the need for diagnostic tests, and the results provide us with a complete clinical assessment of the breast. Many times, women undergo mammography, and in the best cases, they only read the radiologist’s diagnosis. Unfortunately, this means that cancerous lesions can escape the stage of early “in situ” diagnosis and progress to advanced and non-treatable stages.

Breast Ultrasound (Ultrasound): In younger women, ultrasound is the most appropriate examination because the breast tissue is dense, and mammography does not provide sufficient information. Older women with dense breasts should also be monitored with ultrasound.

Digital Mammography: It is recommended as a reference starting at the age of 35 for women with a positive family history, and after the age of 40, it should be done annually for the general population.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): It is used when necessary for specialized diagnosis.

Genetic testing: For women at high risk, a personalized process is recommended, including frequent clinical examinations and genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations.

Self-examination: It is important to know that self-examination should be performed during the second 10-day period of the menstrual cycle for women with regular cycles, or once a month on a specific date for women in menopause. For complete instructions on breast palpation, click here. Early diagnosis can lead to breast preservation and complete recovery in most cases!

With the aforementioned examinations, we can detect almost all breast cancers. When there is a palpable lump or any suspicion of malignancy, the lesion should be identified through biopsy. In some cases where the palpable mass is not suspicious and other factors confirm its benign nature, clinical follow-up can be chosen.


Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA): This technique tends to be abolished because it does not provide sufficient and accurate information.

Core Biopsy: This is the technique used in most cases. It is preferably performed under ultrasound guidance and can detect both palpable and non-palpable masses. The method is well-tolerated and provides valuable information.

Excisional Biopsy with Wire Localization: This allows us to locate and remove microcalcifications seen on mammography.

Open Biopsy: The entire tumor is removed in surgery and then sent for biopsy. Further therapeutic interventions will be determined based on the histological type.

The staging of breast cancer is important and certainly related to the prognosis of the disease. Breast cancer is classified into stages based on the size of the tumor, lymph node involvement, and presence of metastasis. Treatment decisions are made based on the stage and other individual factors. It is crucial for women to undergo regular screenings and follow the recommendations of healthcare professionals to ensure early detection and appropriate management of breast cancer.


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