Screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. This can help find cancer at an early stage. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread.
Mammogram- Mammography is the most common screening test for breast cancer. A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast. This test may find tumors that are too small to feel.
Clinical breast exam (CBE)- A clinical breast exam is an exam of the breast by a doctor or other health professional. The doctor will carefully feel the breasts and under the arms for lumps or anything else that seems unusual. It is important to know how your breasts usually look and feel. If you feel any lumps or notice any other changes, talk to your doctor.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)- MRI is used as a screening test for women who have one or more of the following:
- Certain gene changes, such as in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.
- A family history (first degree relative, such as a mother, daughter or sister) with breast cancer.
- MRIs find breast cancer more often than mammograms do, but it is common for MRI results to appear abnormal even when there isn't any cancer.
Thermography- Thermography is a procedure in which a special camera that senses heat is used to record the temperature of the skin that covers the breasts. A computer makes a map of the breast showing the changes in temperature. Tumors can cause temperature changes that may show up on the thermogram.
Tissue sampling- Breast tissue sampling is taking cells from breast tissue to check under a microscope. Abnormal cells in breast fluid have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer in same studies.