Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women after skin cancer.
Types of Screening for Breast Cancer
Mammography is the most common screening test for breast cancer.
A mammogram is a picture of the inside of the breast. Mammography may find tumors that are too small to feel. It may also find ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). In DCIS, abnormal cells line the breast duct, and in some women may become invasive cancer.
There are three types of mammograms:
- Film mammography is an x-ray picture of the breast.
- Digital mammography is a computer picture of the breast.
- Digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) uses x-rays to take a series of pictures of the breast from many different angles. A computer is used to make 3-D pictures of the breast from these x-rays.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used to screen women who have a high risk of breast cancer.
MRI is a procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. This procedure is also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI). MRI does not use any x-rays and the woman is not exposed to radiation.
A clinical breast exam is an exam of the breast by a doctor or other health professional. He or she will carefully feel the breasts and under the arms for lumps or anything else that seems unusual. It is not known if having clinical breast exams decreases the chance of dying from breast cancer.
Breast self-exams may be done by women or men to check their breasts for lumps or other changes. If you feel any lumps or notice any other changes in your breasts, talk to your doctor.
Breast Cancer Resources
- Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey’s Breast Cancer Resource and Learning Center
- National Cancer Institute Breast Cancer Overview
*Information about screening courtesy of the National Cancer Institute’s PDQ cancer information summary for Breast Cancer