What Are Genomic Tests
Genomic tests analyze a sample of a cancer tumor to see how active certain genes are. The activity level of these genes affects the behavior of the cancer, including how likely it is to grow and spread. Genomic tests are used to help make decisions about whether more treatments after surgery would be beneficial.
While their names sound similar, genomic testing and genetic testing are very different.
Genetic testing is done on a sample of your blood, saliva, or other tissue and can tell if you have an abnormal change in a gene that is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer. See the Genetic Testing pages for more information.
Diagnosis Of Breast Cancer
Diagnosis is the process of finding out the cause of a health problem. Diagnosing breast cancer usually begins when you find a lump in your breast or a screening mammography suggests a problem with the breast. Your doctor will ask you about any symptoms you have and do a physical exam. Based on this information, your doctor may refer you to a specialist or order tests to check for breast cancer or other health problems.
The process of diagnosis may seem long and frustrating. Its normal to worry, but try to remember that other health conditions can cause similar symptoms as breast cancer. Its important for the healthcare team to rule out other reasons for a health problem before making a diagnosis of breast cancer.
The following tests are usually used to rule out or diagnose breast cancer. Many of the same tests used to diagnose cancer are used to find out the stage . Your doctor may also order other tests to check your general health and to help plan your treatment.
What Is A Positive Result
When the radiologist reports the mammogram results, he/she might notice something and request a call-back or a follow-up.; A screening radiologist has to be quite careful how his impressions are expressed and may be interpreted by the patient.
The term positive result especially can cause a great deal of unnecessary anxiety for the patient.
If the initial mammogram radiologist noticed something that needs further clarification, the radiologist will usually request typical call-back procedures such as magnification, ultrasound, and maybe a biopsy.
Read Also: How I Found Out I Had Breast Cancer
A Cancer Prevention Plan For Women
Finding cancer early improves your chances of successful treatment and long-term survival.
- lumps, sores or ulcers that don’t heal
- unusual changes in your breasts lumps, thickening, unusual discharge, nipples that suddenly turn inwards, changes in shape, colour or unusual pain
- coughs that don’t go away, show blood, or a hoarseness that persists
- weight loss that can’t be explained
- any loss of blood, even a few spots between periods or after they stop
- moles that have changed shape, size or colour, or an inflamed skin sore that hasn’t healed
- blood in a bowel motion
- persistent changes in toilet habits
- persistent abdominal pain or bloating.
Symptoms often relate to more common, less serious health problems. However, if you notice any unusual changes, or symptoms persist, visit your doctor.
What Is Breast Cancer Screening
Screening examinations are tests performed to find disease before symptoms begin. The goal of screening is to detect disease at its earliest and most treatable stage. In order to be widely accepted and recommended by medical practitioners, a screening program must meet a number of criteria, including reducing the number of deaths from the given disease.
Screening tests may include laboratory tests to check blood and other fluids, genetic tests that look for inherited genetic markers linked to disease, and imaging tests that produce pictures of the inside of the body. These tests are typically available to the general population; however, an individual’s needs for a specific screening test are based on factors such as age, gender and family history.
In breast cancer screening, a woman who has no signs or symptoms of breast cancer undergoes a breast examination such as:
Recommended Reading: What Is The Fish Test For Breast Cancer
How Do I Self
Lots of people talk about doing self-checks , to try and spot cancer early.
Its good to be aware of what your body is normally like, so its easier to notice if anything changes. But theres no good evidence to suggest that regularly self-checking any part of your body in a set time or set way is helpful. It can actually do more harm than good, by picking up things which wouldnt have gone on to cause you problems.
Self-checking is different to cancer screening read more about screening for cancer.
If You Have Any Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
Screening will not pick up all cancers. Cancer can occur at any time, including between your screening appointments.
Always see a GP right away if you have any symptoms of breast cancer.
Symptoms of breast cancer can include:
- a lump in either breast
- discharge from either of your nipples
- a lump or swelling in either of your armpits
- a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
- dimpling on the skin of your breasts
- a rash on or around your nipple
- a change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast
You May Like: Where Does Metastatic Breast Cancer Spread To
What Are The Benefits Of Genetic Testing For Brca1 And Brca2 Variants
There can be benefits to genetic testing, regardless of whether a person receives a positive or a negative result.
The potential benefits of a true negative result include a sense of relief regarding the future risk of cancer, learning that one’s children are not at risk of inheriting the family’s cancer susceptibility, and the possibility that special check-ups, tests, or risk-reducing;surgeries may not be needed.
A positive test result may;allow people to make informed decisions about their future health care, including taking steps to reduce their cancer risk.;
What Is Breast Cancer Staging
To determine the stage of your cancer, doctors look at how large your tumor is, where it is, and if it has spread. They also look at your medical history, physical exams, diagnostic tests, and tests of your tumor and lymph nodes.
- Early-stage breast cancer includes stages 0, I, II and IIIA .
- In stage 0, there are abnormal cells in the ducts or lobes of the breast. They have not broken through the wall of the duct or spread.
- In stages I, II, and IIIA, there is a tumor. It may have spread to lymph nodes under the arm, but it has not spread anywhere else.
You May Like: How Long Is Chemo Treatment For Breast Cancer
Why Breast Cancer Screening Matters
The sooner breast cancer gets diagnosed, the better your odds of getting successful treatment.
That’s why itâs important to get mammograms as recommended, to be familiar with how your breasts usually look, and to report any changes to your doctor ASAP. Why?
- Breast cancer risk is up: The lifetime risk of a woman getting breast cancer in the U.S. was around 5%, or 1 in 20, in 1940. Now itâs 12%, or more than 1 in 8.
- Finding breast cancer earlier boosts your survival odds: Women who have breast cancer screening mammograms are much less likely to die from the disease. This depends on:
- The quality of the test
- Getting screened as often as you need to
- Following your treatment plan if you get diagnosed
The Harms Of Mammography Include The Following:
False-positive test results can occur.
Screening test results may appear to be abnormal even though no cancer is present. A false-positive test result is usually followed by more tests , which also have risks.
When a breast biopsy result is abnormal, getting a second opinion from a different pathologist may confirm a correct breast cancer diagnosis.
Most abnormal test results turn out not to be cancer. False-positive results are more common in the following:
- Younger women .
- Women who have had previous breast biopsies.
- Women with a family history of breast cancer.
- Women who take hormones for menopause.
False-positive results are more likely the first time screening mammography is done than with later screenings. For every ten women who have a single mammogram, one will have a false-positive result. The chance of having a false-positive result goes up the more mammograms a woman has. Comparing a current mammogram with a past mammogram lowers the risk of a false-positive result.
The skill of the radiologist also can affect the chance of a false-positive result.
False-positive results can lead to extra testing and cause anxiety.
If a mammogram is abnormal, more tests may be done to diagnose cancer. Women can become anxious during the diagnostic testing. Even if it is a false-positive test and cancer is not diagnosed, the result can lead to anxiety anywhere from a few days to years later.
False-negative test results can delay diagnosis and treatment.
You May Like: Can You Be An Organ Donor After Breast Cancer
What Are My Options If I Have A ‘cancer Gene’
Women in high-risk categories and those who have the genes linked with breast cancer should consider starting regular breast cancer screening at age 25, or 10 years earlier than the age of the youngest relative with breast cancer at the time of their diagnosis.
Get to know how your breasts look and feel. If you notice any changes, see your doctor right away. And talk with your doctor about blood tests, pelvic exams, and transvaginal ultrasound to look for ovarian cancer.
Some women choose to have a preventive mastectomy to lower their chances of breast cancer. Itâs also possible to have your ovaries and fallopian tubes taken out. This doesnât get rid of all risk, but it does significantly lower it.
Another approach includes using anti-estrogen drugs:
- Tamoxifen, useful in premenopausal and post-menopausal women
- Raloxifene , used to treat osteoporosis; useful only in post-menopausal women
- Exemestane , an aromatase inhibitor; useful only in post-menopausal women
Genetic Testing For Hereditary Breast And Ovarian Cancer
Genetic testing is available for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Most breast and ovarian cancer is not caused by inherited mutations, so genetic testing will not help most women with a family health history of breast and ovarian cancer. Genetic testing will not identify the cause for some hereditary breast and ovarian cancers, because the genes affected in these cancers are not yet known.
Genetic counseling before genetic testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer is important to determine whether you and your family are likely enough to have a mutation that it is worth getting tested. Usually, genetic testing is recommended if you have:
- A strong family health history;of breast and ovarian cancer
- A moderate family health history;of breast and ovarian cancer and are of Ashkenazi Jewish or Eastern European ancestry
- A personal history of breast cancer and meet certain criteria
- A personal history of ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer
- A known BRCA1, BRCA2, or other inherited mutation in your family
The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes
Genetic counseling after genetic testing is important to help you understand your test results and decide the next steps for you and your family:
Read Also: Can Estrogen Cause Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer Signs And Symptoms
Any of the following symptoms should be checked out by your doctor. They could occur for a number of reasons including breast cancer or non-cancerous conditions. It is always best to report any changes to determine the causes.
- Lump or mass
- Change in size or shape of the breast or nipple
- Change in color to breast or nipple
- Inverted nipple
- Swelling or thickening of the breast
- Consistent pain
Mammogram And Breast Ultrasound
If you have symptoms and have been referred to a specialist breast unit;by a GP, you’ll probably be invited to have a mammogram, which is an;X-ray of your breasts. You may also need an ultrasound scan.
If cancer was detected through the NHS Breast Screening Programme, you may need another mammogram or ultrasound scan.
Your doctor may suggest that you only have a breast ultrasound scan if you’re under the age of 35. This is because younger women have denser breasts, which means a mammogram is not as effective as ultrasound in;detecting cancer.
Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to produce an image of the inside of your breasts, showing any lumps or abnormalities.
Your breast specialist may also suggest a breast ultrasound if they need to know whether a lump in your breast is solid or contains liquid.
Find out more about breast screening.
You May Like: What To Wear During Radiation Treatment For Breast Cancer
What Happens During Genetic Testing
You’ll need a family pedigree to learn whether there is a cancer development pattern in your family. A family pedigree is a chart that shows the genetic makeup of a person’s ancestors. Itâs used to analyze characteristics or diseases that are passed down through a family.
Then, youâll have a blood test to learn whether you have a breast cancer gene. Keep in mind that the vast majority of breast cancer cases are not linked with a breast cancer gene. In addition, scientists do not know all of the genes that can cause breast cancer, so they can test you only for the known genes.
When someone with a cancer diagnosis and a family history of the disease is found to have an altered BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, the family is said to have a “known mutation.” If thereâs a link between the development of breast cancer and a breast cancer gene, then all family members willing to have genetic testing are asked to give a sample of blood. For many people, knowing their test results is important because this information may help to guide health care decisions for themselves and their families.
Common Symptoms Of Male Breast Cancer What To Look Out For
The most common symptom of breast cancer in men is a firm lump in the breast tissue deep to the nipple. This is nearly always painless and other symptoms may include:
- Oozing from the nipple that may be blood stained.
- Swelling of the breast.
- A sore in the skin of the breast.
- A nipple that is pulled into the breast .
- Lumps under the arm.
If you are showing any of the common symptoms listed above, please call us on;to book a OneStop Breast Clinic appointment.;
Were pleased to cancel and re-schedule any appointments without penalty or administration fees up to 24 hours before your appointment. However, with less than 24 hours notice of cancellation, re-scheduling or non-attendance on the day does incur a 100% cancellation fee as well be unable to re-use the time to support other clients. New appointments will be charged at the self-pay rate of £250 .
Read Also: What Is The Survival Rate For Stage 0 Breast Cancer
Whether A Woman Should Be Screened For Breast Cancer And The Screening Test To Use Depends On Certain Factors
Women with risk factors for breast cancer, such as certain changes in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene or certain genetic syndromes may be screened at a younger age and more often.
Women who have had radiation treatment to the chest, especially at a young age, may start routine breast cancer screening at an earlier age. The benefits and risks of mammograms and MRIs for these women have not been studied.
Breast cancer screening has not been shown to benefit the following women:
- Elderly women who, if diagnosed with breast cancer through screening, will usually die of other causes. Screening mammograms for those aged 66 to 79 years may find cancer in a very small percentage of women, but most of these cancers are low risk.
- In women with an average risk of developing breast cancer, screening mammography before age 40 has not shown any benefit.
- In women who are not expected to live for a long time and have other diseases or conditions, finding and treating early stage breast cancer may reduce their quality of life without helping them live longer.
Breast Cancer Screening Saves Lives
Screening tests can find breast cancer early, when the chances of survival are highest. Getting screened regularly means your doctor is likely to know sooner if theres a problem, so you can get effective treatment as early as possible. There are more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. todaymore than any other group of cancer survivorslargely thanks to advances in screening and treatment.
Read Also: Will I Need Chemo 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 . In DCIS, abnormalcells 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 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.
DBT was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2018 and is now used in 3 out of 4 facilities. One study found that DBT reduced false-positive test results and was likely to reduce breast cancer deaths. More studies are being done to provide information on digital mammography compared to DBT.
Mammography is less likely to find breast tumors in women with dense breast tissue. Because both tumors and dense breast tissue appear white on a mammogram, it can be harder to find a tumor when there is dense breast tissue. Younger women are more likely to have dense breast tissue.
Many factors affect whether mammography is able to detect breast cancer:
Women aged 50 to 69 years who have screening mammograms have a lower chance of dying from breast cancer than women who do not have screening mammograms.