What Kinds of Tests or Examinations Should be Done for Breast Cancer?

by Yang Wenting on April 30, 2011

1. X-ray exam

X-ray examination is a common method for breast cancer. Breast cancer commonly can be divided into lumps or nodules, calcification and thickening of the skin symptoms group in the x-ray films. Mass with higher density, edge burr is diagnosed. Burr longer than the diameter of mass is called star lesions

2. Ultrasound imaging examination

The main purpose of ultrasound imaging exam is to identify cystic or solid tumor lines. Ultrasound diagnostic accuracy of breast cancer was 80% to 85%. Cancer tissues invasion to the surrounding with the formation of strong echoes, the destruction of normal breast structure and the skin thickening or depression are important reference for diagnosis of breast cancer.

3. Near-infrared scanning

Near-infrared is easily to penetrate the soft tissue with the wavelength of 600 ~ 900μm. Breast tissues of different densities show different gray shadow through the infrared, thus showing breast lumps. In addition, the infrared is so sensitivity of hemoglobin strong that breast vascular shadow can be clear display.  

4. CT

It can be used to positioning before biopsy for breast cancer which not palpable. Also, preoperative staging of breast cancer can be diagnosed and other checks such as the mammary area, axilla and internal mammary lymph node may be helpful for developing treatment plans.

5. Tumor markers check

tumor markers refers to all substances that tumor cells direct release such as antigens, enzymes, hormones or metabolites in the tumor cells or host body fluids

  •  Carcinoembryonic antigen (cEA): it may increase in many tumors and non-cancer diseases as a non-specific antigen. No differential diagnosis can be checked, but it increased about 20% to 30% of blood cEA before surgery for breast cancer patients, while the advanced and metastatic carcinomas are 50% and 70% higher.
  • Ferritin: Ferritin has increased in many malignant tumors such as leukemia, pancreatic cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, breast cancer.
  • Monoclonal antibodies

6. Biopsy

Breast cancer diagnosis must be established before the start of treatment, but so far only the pathological results of biopsy can be a sure diagnosis. It may include:

  1. Needle aspiration biopsy
  2. Cut biopsy
  3. Excisional biopsy: It refers to that removal of suspected malignant mass in a range of tumor and surrounding tissue. In general, at least 1cm from the tumor margin is removed as complete as possible. the initial malignancy can be checked from the section examination.
    • medullary carcinoma: the texture is soft, gray-white cut surface and bleeding, necrosis, cyst formation;
    • hard cancer: the cut surface is gray, shrink-shaped like a scar and around radial extended but capsule;
    • tube carcinoma: it involved multiple catheter, and even the nipple with white cut surface, and sometimes acne-like objects can be squeezed out;
    • lobular carcinoma: it is soft, irregular shape and gray or pink cut surface. Sometimes tumor masses are not obvious but only breast thickening.

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