Dr Vinay Bhatia, Assistant Manager – Molecular Biology
Rekha’s is a typical case, where the physician is usually consulted at an advanced stage of breast cancer, leading to a diagnostic dilemma that may affect treatment decisions. Breast cancer accounts for 23% of all cancer cases and is the most common cause of cancer in women. A woman has a 13% lifetime risk of developing invasive breast cancer, with more than one million women diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the world.
HOW IS BREAST CANCER DIAGNOSED IN A LABORATORY?
Tests and procedures used to diagnose breast cancer include:
Breast Exam: Examination of breast for any lumps or other abnormalities.
Mammogram: A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. Mammograms are commonly used to screen for breast cancer. If an abnormality is detected on a screening mammogram, the clinician might recommend a diagnostic mammogram to evaluate that abnormality further.
Breast Ultrasound: Ultrasound uses sound waves to produce images of structures deep within the body. Ultrasound may help distinguish between a solid mass and a fluid-filled cyst.
Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): An MRI machine uses a magnet and radio waves to create pictures of the interior of your breast.
Biopsy: Imaging studies such as mammogram and MRI, often along with physical exams of the breast, can lead doctors to suspect that a person has breast cancer. However, the only way to know for sure is to take a sample of tissue from the suspicious area and examine it under a microscope. Biopsy samples are sent to a laboratory for analysis where experts determine whether the cells are cancerous. A biopsy sample is also analyzed to determine the type of cells involved in the breast cancer, the aggressiveness (grade) of the cancer, and whether the cancer cells have hormone receptors or other receptors that may influence the patient’s treatment options.
To know about different types of biopsy procedure and staging of breast cancer, click this link http://blog.oncquest.net/?p=67 .