Diagnosing Breast Cancer

Accurate information to manage your health and risk.

Breast cancer can affect anyone. Effective breast cancer care starts with a thorough, accurate diagnostic process. We’ll be by your side every step of the way, whether you just need a regular screening exam or if your doctor suspects that you may have breast cancer.

Why do I need to be screened for breast cancer?

Regular screening is an important part of managing your risk for breast cancer. If you develop breast cancer over your lifetime, regular testing increases your chances of successful treatment, as it often allows us to diagnose breast cancer at an early stage, when we can treat it more easily and effectively.

What breast cancer screenings do I need?

Mammograms play an important role in early detection of breast cancer for many women. Regular mammograms reduce breast cancer mortality (death rates) by 20 to 30 percent. We recommend that women begin a discussion at age 40 with their doctor about annual mammograms. Learn more about your breast health and mammograms.

Although mammograms may be the breast cancer screening you are most familiar with, they are not the only screening option available. We offer a number of advanced breast imaging options, depending on your body type and your doctor’s recommendations. Explore our breast cancer screening and diagnostic options.

What happens if my screening shows I may have breast cancer?

Imaging tests to screen for possible breast cancer only tell us part of the story. If your breast cancer screening indicates an unusual result, the only way to know for sure whether you have breast cancer is for us to perform a breast biopsy, in which we take a sample of the unusual tissue from your breast. Your doctor might also order a biopsy if a lump was found in your breast during a physical exam or if you have noticed certain changes in your breast or nipple, such as:

  • Discharge
  • Dimpled skin
  • Skin irritation
  • Swelling

Needing a biopsy does not necessarily mean you have breast cancer. Most biopsies indicate types of tissue that are not cancerous. Learn more about breast biopsies and what to expect.

An accurate breast cancer diagnosis

If your biopsy indicates that you have breast cancer, we determine what type of breast cancer you have, the stage of your cancer and other key information. Having an accurate diagnosis is critical, as our team will use your diagnosis to create a personalized treatment plan for you. Discover how we ensure that you receive a quick, accurate diagnosis.

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