Breast Cancer Diagnosis

As proven by studies of Modern Cancer Hospital Guangzhou, the incidence rate of breast cancer accounts for 10% of all diseases of the whole body. It is the natural enemy threatening females’ health. However, many females have no idea about breast cancer. As a result, they fail to undergo timely treatment and miss the best treatment chance when admitted to hospital. Then, how to diagnose whether breast cancer has occurred? What are the diagnosis methods of breast cancer?

Diagnostic Methods of Breast Cancer

1. Ultrasound imaging examination: it can clearly reveal the form and boundary of breast tissues and whether there is mass in the breast, if any, its size, shape and texture (cystic or solid), etc. It provides comparatively reliable basis for the distinguishing between benign and malignant cancer. Ultrasound imaging examination has an 80%~85% accuracy to the diagnosis of breast cancer patients of 30 years old. The strong reflected sound caused by the surrounding infiltrated tissues, the damaged normal breast structure, the thickening or indentation of local breast skin above underlying mass, images of all these can be taken as important reference of breast cancer diagnosis. Ultrasound is harmless and can be reused.

2. Thermal imaging examination: it is a method to reveal the temperature distribution of body surface with images. As cancer cells proliferate fast and vessels increase, the temperature of cancer surface rises higher than that of surrounding normal tissues, with the differences of which, diagnosis can be done. However, this diagnosis method lacks of accurate imaging standard, and the thermal abnormal parts cannot correspond to the tumor. Therefore, the diagnostic accordance rate of the method is low. That’s why this method is used less and less in recent years.

3. CT scans: it can be used in determining the location of impalpable breast lesions before biopsy and staging breast cancer before treatment, as well as checking whether there are masses in the retromammary area, armpit and internal breast lymph nodes, and helping with treatment plan as well.

4. Cancer marker examination: during the cancerization process, a substance is produced and secreted by cancer cells. It directly releases components of cell tissues and exists in the cancer cells or body fluid of the parasitifer in the form of antigen, enzyme, hormone or metabolite. This kind of substance is called cancer marker, with which the examination methods include carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), iron protein, monoclonal antibody, and so on.

5. Biopsy: only after the diagnosis is confirmed can treatment for breast cancer be performed. Although there are plenty of examination methods for breast cancer nowadays, the result of biopsy is the only basis that can be used to confirm diagnosis.

a. Needle biopsy: it is simple, fast, safe and can replace some frozen tissue sections, with 80%~90% results proving negative. Needle biopsy can also be used in general survey of cancer prevention. If the clinical diagnosis proves malignant but cytological diagnosis proves benign or with suspected cancer, surgical biopsy will be demanded to confirm the diagnosis.

b. Incisional biopsy: as it can stimulate cancer diffusion, it is usually not recommended, but only used to determine the pathologic types of advanced cancer.

c. Excisional biopsy: when a malignant cancer is suspected, excisional biopsy is performed to remove the tumor and surrounding certain extending tissues for further diagnosis. It is usually request to completely excise from at least 1cm to the margin of the tumor.

How to self-diagnose breast cancer?

1. Self-exam when bathing

When bathing, soap your breast at first to make it sliding when checking. Put one of your hands behind your head, with fingers of another hand closed and straighten, carefully check every part of your breast with your finger pulps in spiral manner to see whether there are masses in your breasts. Alternate your hands when checking your two breasts.

2. Checking before a mirror

Stand in front of a mirror with your hands down to see whether the outlook of your breasts is normal and whether there is indentation of your nipples and shrinking or humps of the breast skin. Slightly nip your nipples to see whether there is discharge and check your armpit to see whether there are swollen lymph nodes. At last, hold high your hands above your head and repeat the examination again.

When Diagnosing Breast Cancer, Distinguish Breast Cancer from Below Diseases

1. Fibroadenoma of breast: it is commonly seen among young females. The tumors are mainly round or oval, with clear boundary, active but slow developing. For women above 40, you should exclude malignant breast cancer before hastily diagnose as breast fibroadenoma.

2. Cystic hyperplasia of breast: it is most seen among young females too, with the characteristics of periodical breast swelling pain and breast lumps in accordance with menstrual cycle.

3. Plasma cell mastitis: it is an aseptic inflammation of breast tissues, 60% of which appear as acute inflammation in clinic. Big lumps will show orange-like skin on the breast surface. 40% of patients have chronic inflammation at the very beginning, which appear with lumps around the nipple, unclear boundary, skin adhesion and nipple indentation can be seen.

4. Breast nodules: it is a chronic inflammation of breast tissues caused by tubercle bacillus and usually occurs among young females. It has long course of disease and develop slowly. Locally, it appears with internal breast masses, which are hard and tough, and some parts of which feel cystic. Sometimes it is not clear in the boundary, with limited activity and possibly non-periodic pain.

Due to great pressure of work, which affects the level of internal secretion, all kinds of breast diseases emerge and get closer and closer to people. Here, experts from Modern Cancer Hospital Guangzhou suggest that female friends should go to hospital regularly for routine physical examinations every year.