A breast lump or another sign or symptom of breast cancer may be found by a screening mammogram or during a clinical breast examination 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. More information is needed to properly diagnose the signs or symptoms and to determine if the change is breast cancer.
Diagnostic imaging and biopsy
The first method for diagnosis used 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 biopsy, where a small tissue sample is taken for lab testing 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 leads to more treatment options and a better chance of surviving the disease.
This section explores the different methods used to diagnose breast cancer, including the following: