BREAST CANCER DIAGNOSIS

The breast is a complicated organ when it comes to diagnostic approach. Most women will develop a problem or symptom on their breast during their lifetime but only 1 out of 8 will have breast cancer in the future. It is extremely important, that breast cancer is diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

An early diagnosis is the most important weapon that we, doctors, have against breast cancer. In order to be able to achieve this goal, the following are necessary:

  • Clinical Examination by a specialized surgeon, once a year after 35 years of age (along with a mammogram or an ultrasound)
  • Self examination, once a month
  • Mammogram, the first one at 35 years of age and the others after 40 years of age

Early diagnosis can lead to maintaining both breasts and to complete healing, in most cases. In women of younger age, the ultrasound is the best test for them because the breasts, at that age are quite dense and a mammogram would be inconclusive. In older women, that also have high density breasts, they should do an ultrasound, along with the mammogram. In other cases, especially when there are indications, women are having an MRI test, as well.  In women that belong to the high risk category, we suggest personalized treatment and protocols that include often check-ups, specific medical tests (gene tests), etc.

Knowing all of the above, will help us determine almost most forms of breast cancer. If there is an abnormality or a lump found during your medical examination or if there is any suspicion of malignancy, a biopsy must take place. In some cases, where the lump is not suspicious and there also other factors involved that will make a doctor categorize it as benign, then you can just choose to monitor it.

BIOPSY TECHNIQUES

  • Fine needle aspiration(FNA) uses a very thin needle and syringe to remove a small amount of tissue from a lump. Doctors use it to find out if the lump is a cyst or solid tumour. FNA cannot tell doctors if the cancer is non-invasive or invasive.
  • Core biopsy uses a special hollow needle to remove tissue from the body. Doctors use it to take a sample from a suspicious area in the breast. They may take several samples of the area during the procedure. This technique offers the doctor with plenty of information.
  • 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 parts of a lump or a suspicious area. An excisional biopsy removes the whole area with a margin of healthy tissue around it.

BREAST CANCER STAGES

Staging describes or classifies a cancer based on how much cancer there is in the body and where it is when first diagnosed. This is often called the extent of cancer. Information from tests is used to find out the size of the tumor, what part of the breast has cancer, whether the cancer has spread from where it first started and where the cancer has spread. The following are taken under consideration: tumor size, lymph node status (the number and location of lymph nodes with cancer) and metastases (whether or not the cancer has spread to other areas of the body). Also age, tumor aggressiveness, hormones, also factor into the stages. Your healthcare team uses the stage to plan treatment and estimate the outcome (your prognosis).

MEDICAL STAFF

In “Plasis” Breast Clinic, we follow the latest European guidelines for diagnosing and curing breast cancer. We are “on top” of every international research protocol and we only cooperate with prominent radiologists, radiotherapists, pathologists, oncologists and plastic surgeons. We are also, in touch with a psychologist specialized in such matters, if it is deemed necessary.

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