There are several types of breast cancer screening that can be done to test for breast cancer prior to any symptoms of breast cancer in either a man or a woman. While breast cancer can affect both men and women, it happens to women far more frequently.
Major breast cancer screening tests
Some of the main breast cancer screening tests include:
a mammogram is when an x-ray is done of the breasts. This is a common way to detect breast tumors or lumps and is usually done on women over the age of 40 every one or two years. How often it is done may also be determined by whether or not a woman has a history of breast cancer in her family or has shown any previous problems.
Breast exam –
This is when a doctor does a check of the breasts by hand to feel for possible lumps or other problems. This is similar to a self exam, except it is done by the doctor or a nurse.
Self-exam of the breasts –
This is when a person checks their own breasts, usually once a month, to see if there are any lumps, change in size, or any problems in the breasts or under the armpit.
MRI of the breasts
– This is a newer breast screening tool and is mostly done on women with a family history of breast cancer or if something is found that needs further testing during a mammogram. It gives more details than other types of testing. MRI can be used to diagnose benign change in the breast such as fibroadenomas, which may help eliminate a need for expensive or unneeded biopsies or surgery.
Biopsy of breast lump
– This is when a piece of the lump found during other types of breast cancer screening is tested under a microscope to see if the lump is cancerous. If so, treatment can be done to remove the lump called a lumpectomy or a mastectomy may need to be done to remove the entire breast. This is determined by the woman’s doctor.
Where is breast screening done?
Breast cancer screening is usually done in a doctor’s office, women’s clinic, or sometimes in a hospital. If a woman has insurance, it usually will cover breast cancer screening and if she can’t afford breast cancer screening there are many types of assistance that low income women can apply for in order to get tested for breast cancer.
The effectiveness of breast cancer screening varies dependent on how often a woman is tested, how well the testing is performed, and the type of testing done to determine if there are any signs or symptoms of breast cancer.
The bottom line is that all women from about the age of 20 years old should begin to do breast cancer screening in order to test for possible breast cancer at an early enough time frame in order to treat it before it gets to a more advanced stage of cancer.