Alternatives to Mammograms
by Eric Smith
Breast cancer develops in the cells of the breast and is often diagnosed with examinations, mammograms and other tests. Breast cancer is much more common in women than in men. Patients should have their doctors examine unusual breast changes.
According to the Mayo Clinic, unusual breast thickening or lumpiness, bloody nipple discharge and an inverted nipple may occur with breast cancer and need to be evaluated by a doctor. Changes in the shape and size of the breast, skin peeling of the nipple and pitting of the breast skin may occur with this disease.
A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast that may be used to identify abnormalities that need further testing.
Ultrasound uses sound waves to create more detailed images of breast abnormalities that can be used in some cases to distinguish a breast tumor from a benign cyst.
An MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging test, uses radio waves, a magnet and dye to look very closely at the interior of the breast.
A biopsy is often performed on breast cells that are suspected of being malignant. A tissue sample is extracted and evaluated in a laboratory for the presence of cancer.