• Make a Gift Today!

    This Mother’s Day, honour your mom or a significant role model in your life, with a gift in their name to support the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. You can also send a personalized e-card to the person you are honouring.


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  • Get Pink'd!

    From coast-to-coast, organizations, businesses, schools and community groups come together to raise money for breast cancer research through this fun and easy fundraiser!


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    Join our talented group of volunteers who work hard every year to help create a future without breast cancer.


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  • New Treatments

    I believe in the power of human creativity to conquer this disease.” - Dr. Tak Mak, leader of SU2C Canada - CBCF Breast Cancer Dream Team


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  • New Treatments Team Grant

    Learn more about the SU2C Canada – CBCF Breast Cancer Dream Team. See the plans of this world class research team for exploiting cancer’s weaknesses to treat triple-negative breast cancer and other aggressive types of breast cancer.


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  • The 2015 CBCF Community Report

    CBCF’s national community report tells the story of how your support has made a difference, through videos, research stories, community highlights and program profiles.


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Home | Central | About Breast Cancer | Steps to Diagnosis

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How is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?

A breast lumpLump:
A mass that can be found in the breast or elsewhere in the body. This can also be called a nodule.
or another sign or symptom of breast cancer may be found by a screeningScreening:
The search for diseases such as breast cancer in people without symptoms. Mammography is an important tool for breast cancer screening and earlier detection.
mammogramMammogram (also called mammography):
A low-dose X-ray of the breast. It is used to take images of the breasts and is an important screening tool for the earlier detection of breast cancer.
or during a clinical breast examinationClinical breast exam (CBE):
A physical examination of the breasts by a health-care provider.
by a health care provider. You may also notice a breast change yourself by being breast aware.

However, a change to the breast does not necessarily mean that you have breast cancer. In fact, most breast changes are not breast cancer. More information is needed to properly diagnose the signs or symptoms you are experiencing.

Diagnostic Imaging and Biopsy

The first step used for diagnosis will most likely be an imaging technique, which is a way to get a better picture of what is happening in the breast. You may also need to have a biopsyBiopsy:
A procedure in which tissue samples are removed from the body for examination under a microscope to determine if cancer or other abnormal cells are present.
, where a small tissue sample is taken to be tested in a lab to see if it is cancer.

It is important to diagnose the condition promptly. If it does turn out to be breast cancer, earlier detection can lead to more treatment options and a better chance of surviving the disease.

Explore this section to learn more about the different methods used to diagnose breast cancer, including the following: