​Diagnosing breast conditions

Have you felt a lump or had discomfort in one of your breasts, but aren't certain what to do next? Keep in mind that breast changes are very common and most are not cancer.

It's important to be self-aware so that you can recognize changes in your breasts. Also, see your primary care doctor or gynecologist for breast screenings and to talk about when you should get mammograms and how often.

When your doctor performs a physical exam to evaluate a breast lump, he/she may decide to schedule additional diagnostic tests. At The Christ Hospital Health Network, our breast health experts perform advanced screenings and diagnostic services in a warm and comforting environment.

Advanced diagnostic tools

Finding breast disease or breast cancer early greatly improves a woman's chance for successful treatment.

Diagnostic procedures may include:

  • Screening mammograms—X-ray pictures of the breasts for women who have no breast symptoms or signs of breast cancer. Screening mammograms help find breast cancer when it's too small to be felt by a woman or her doctor. Screening mammography assists in early detection of breast cancer and can help detect the disease up to two years before it can be felt.

  • Diagnostic mammograms—used for women with one or more breast problems (a lump or nipple discharge), or when an abnormal area was found in a screening mammogram. Diagnostic mammograms can also be used if you were previously treated for breast cancer. During a diagnostic mammogram, radiologists review images while you are there so that more pictures can be taken to look more closely at an area of concern.

  • Digital breast tomosynthesis (3D mammogram)—takes multiple views of the breast and reconstructs it into a 3D image. This is newer technology, but some early studies show it has better accuracy than 2D mammography for women with denser breasts.

  • Breast MRI—magnetic resonance imaging test

  • Whole breast ultrasound—designed to improve the detection rate of breast cancer in women with dense breasts, beyond what a mammogram alone can find.

  • Breast biopsy—collection of a small tissue sample from area of concern in the breast

After your doctor has evaluated the lump, he or she may recommend additional breast imaging. Imaging analysis for a new breast lump usually includes mammography and/or ultrasound.

If a biopsy is needed, sampling procedures may consist of image-guided fine needle or core needle biopsy, as well as the possibility of surgical excision. Breast MRI is an additional sensitive imaging tool generally used for high-risk breast screenings and for pre-surgical patients.

Next steps

If you have been diagnosed with a breast condition or breast cancer, your doctor will discuss your medical and surgical treatment options.

Think you have a breast condition? Make an appointment with one of our Women’s Health experts.

To schedule your mammogram, call 513-585-2668 or schedule your screening mammogram appointment online.

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