See your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any symptoms of breast cancer, such as an unusual lump in your breast or any change in the appearance, feel or shape of your breasts.
Your doctor will examine you and, if they think your symptoms need further assessment, they’ll refer you to a specialist breast cancer clinic.
If you have suspected breast cancer, either because of your symptoms or because your mammogram has shown an abnormality, you’ll be referred to a specialist breast cancer clinic for further tests.
Mammogram and breast ultrasound
If you have symptoms and have been referred by your doctor, you’ll have a mammogram to produce an X-ray of your breasts. You may also need an ultrasound scan.
If your cancer was detected through the NHS Breast Screening Programme, you may need another mammogram or ultrasound scan.
If you’re under 35 years of age, your doctor may suggest that you only have a breast ultrasound scan. This is because younger women have denser breasts, which means a mammogram isn’t as effective as ultrasound in detecting cancer.
Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to produce an image of the inside of your breasts, showing any lumps or abnormalities. Your doctor may also suggest a breast ultrasound if they need to know whether a lump in your breast is solid or contains liquid.
A biopsy is where a sample of tissue cells is taken from your breast and tested to see if it’s cancerous. You may also need a scan and a needle test on lymph nodes in your armpit (axilla) to see whether these are also affected.
Biopsies can be taken in different ways, and the type you have will depend on what your doctor knows about your condition. Different methods of carrying out a biopsy are discussed below.
Needle aspiration may be used to test a sample of your breast cells for cancer or to drain a benign cyst (a small fluid-filled lump). Your doctor will use a small needle to extract a sample of cells, without removing any tissue.
Needle biopsy is the most common type of biopsy. A sample of tissue is taken from a lump in your breast using a large needle. You’ll have a local anaesthetic, which means you’ll be awake during the procedure, but your breast will be numb.
Your doctor may suggest that you have a guided needle biopsy (usually guided by ultrasound or X-ray, but sometimes MRI is used) to obtain a more precise and reliable diagnosis of cancer and to distinguish it from any non-invasive change, particularly ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).
Vacuum-assisted biopsy, also known as mammotome biopsy, is another type of biopsy. During the procedure, a needle is attached to a gentle suction tube, which helps to obtain the sample and clear any bleeding from the area.
Read More ON:
Causes of Breast Lumps
Diagnosing Breast Lump
Treating Breast Lump
Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Symptoms of Breast Cancer in Men
Causes of Breast Cancer
Treating Breast Cancer
Preventing Breast Cancer
Living with Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer Screening
Source: NHS UK