Breast cancer is one of the most common kinds of cancer in women.
In 2016, the latest year for which incidence data is available, a total of 11,443 new cases of female breast cancer were reported in Alabama (3,810) and Georgia (7,633).
The good news is that screenings can help find breast cancer early. The goal in screening is to find cancer so it can be treated. In many cases, the earlier cancer is found, the easier it is to treat.
It's important to talk with your healthcare provider about which types of screening are best for you.
Breast biopsy – This is a procedure to remove a small sample of tissue from the breast. The sample is checked with a microscope to look for cancer cells.
Diagnostic breast ultrasound – You may have an ultrasound if a spot is found on your mammogram and your healthcare provider wants more information. During the test, a clear gel is put on your breast. An ultrasound technician presses a flat wand onto the skin over and around your breast. The wand uses sound waves to create images on a video screen.
Estrogen and progesterone receptor tests – This is a test measuring the amount of estrogen and progesterone in your cancer tissue. Because some types of breast cancer are driven by hormones, hormone therapy can help prevent the growth, spread and recurrence of the disease.
Screening mammogram – The most common type of breast cancer screening is a screening mammogram. This is an X-ray of the breasts. It's done with a machine that presses each breast between plates and then takes an X-ray picture using a small amount of radiation. This can show areas in breast tissue that may be cancer and are too small to be felt.
Diagnostic mammogram – This test uses x-rays to take pictures from more angles to help your doctor get a complete view of the breast tissue and check for abnormalities.
Sentinel node mapping – Sentinel node mapping uses a radioactive tracer, or a dye, to track the flow of lymph node fluid that shows if and how cancer is spreading.
Breast cancer testing should be a regular part of every woman's health routine. If you have symptoms that might indicate breast cancer, talk to your healthcare provider about diagnostic tests to confirm or rule out a cancer diagnosis.
For more information about breast care at Tanner, visit Tanner Breast Health.
Comprehensive Breast Care Center is located in Carrollton, Georgia. For more information, visit compbreastcare.org or call 770-812-5886.