Getting the Right Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Accurate information is key to your breast cancer care.

Having an accurate diagnosis is crucial to every aspect of your breast cancer care. We use a biopsy, a small sample of tissue taken from your breast, to determine:

  • Whether a lump or suspicious tissue in your breast is cancer or something else
  • What type of breast cancer you have
  • How fast your cancer cells are growing
  • The stage of your breast cancer (based on the tumor’s size and whether it has spread to the lymph nodes and/or elsewhere in the body), which may require an additional sentinel node biopsy
  • How receptive your breast cancer might be to various treatment options

Our pathologists (doctors who specialize in the diagnosis of disease) look for all of this information and more from your biopsy sample. If your doctor noted calcifications (mineral deposits) on your mammogram report, the pathologist will look for these calcifications in your biopsy sample to ensure that your biopsy was taken from the correct area of your breast.

Once we have all this information, we use it to determine your diagnosis. We’ll call you within a few days of your biopsy to go over your results and whether they indicate that you have breast cancer. If you do, our team will use your diagnosis and specific test results to create a personalized treatment plan for you and your cancer.

Until you receive your diagnosis

We understand how difficult it can be to wait for your diagnosis results to come from your doctor. It’s natural to feel a range of emotions during this time, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Shock
  • Uncertainty

It’s important to try to stay calm. There is no guarantee that you have breast cancer. Only about 20 percent of women who undergo a breast biopsy have cancer. Most biopsies end up showing benign (noncancerous) tissue.

If your doctor does diagnose you with a form of breast cancer, we have many effective treatments for the disease — many more than were available even just a few years ago. As the American Cancer Society notes, 90 percent of all breast cancer cases are treatable, though each case is unique.

Do I need a second opinion?

We can provide a fresh perspective if you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer by another doctor or cancer center.

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Connect with a Cancer Expert

Our cancer team is here for you in-person, by phone and virtually for all your cancer care needs.

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Newly diagnosed?

Contact the cancer team 24/7 by calling (888) 777-4167.

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Please call 911 if you have an emergency or urgent medical question.

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For the best experience, existing Henry Ford patients can request and self-schedule appointments through Henry Ford MyChart.

Henry Ford Health is committed to ensuring our Deaf or hard-of-hearing patients and visitors have equal access to all services. We provide the appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified sign language interpreters, TTYs and other assistive listening devices, at no cost. To request assistance, call 313-916-1896 or email [email protected].

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