Contrary to the myth that you cannot test for breast cancer, there are four types of tests that you can do to screen for cancerous cells in your breast.
Doing a test on your breast at least once a month can lead to early detection, giving you a higher chance of finding the right medical procedure to heal you. These are the four types of breast cancer tests to know about.
Mammography tests, also known as a mammogram, is a test done by doctors to look for early signs of breast cancer by using an X-ray of your breast to test it for any cancerous cells. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), a mammogram has proven to reduce breast cancer mortality by approximately 20%. Although mammograms are recommended for people for women 40 years and older, there are narrow benefits compared to harms for both younger and older women.
This is a screening test and is not done to cure you of cancer. The Breast is placed on a plate and compressed by a Perspex plate to spread the breast tissues to detect any abnormalities in the breast. Should your doctor or GP find any abnormalities, you could be requested to come in for a diagnostic mammogram to determine if it is cancerous.
A breast ultrasound is usually performed on women below 40 and is done to test for any abnormalities in the breast. This involves the use of sound waves to produce an image of structures deep within your body. An ultrasound can help doctors determine whether the new breast lump is a solid mass or if it is a fluid-filled cyst.
Keeping a schedule to screen your breasts consistently can help doctors recommend the right tests for you. It could also lead to early treatment to stop the cancerous cells from violently spreading across your body.
Breast exam (self-examination)
A self-breast examination should be done regularly once a month to detect any changes in your breast. Ladies who are menstruating should do their examinations 7 days after the last day of your menstrual period.
For ladies who do not menstruate, and men, should do their Breast Self-Examinations Regularly every month. Select a date that is easy to remember and do the examinations on that day.
You can feel your breasts for any lumps or abnormalities in the lymph nodes that can be found in your armpits. Remember to consult a doctor or your GP about any lumps that you find.
Clinical Breast Examination:
This is a physical examination of the patients’ breast by a health care professional. Should any abnormalities be detected in the breast the patient dependant on age will either be sent for a Mammogram (over 40 years of age) or an Ultrasound (Patients under 40 years of age).
Should any lump or abnormality be detected during the Ultrasound or Mammogram, the patient may have a Breast Biopsy, or a Fine Needle Aspiration performed to withdraw cells from the lump to be sent for Cytology or Histology to identify it.
Anyone can get cancer, even if it was never in their family history. Therefore, it is important to check your breasts every month. You can also get a life insurance policy that covers you for cancer by giving you the option to take out 50% to 100% of your policy amount to cover you from the financial expenses that come with it.