Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Our doctors use a number of tests and procedures to diagnose cancerous changes in the breast. These include:

  • medical history
  • physical exam
  • imaging tests such as mammogram, ultrasound, and MRI

If your doctors find signs of breast cancer, we may also perform other tests, including a biopsy, to find out more information and determine what type of cancer it is and how far it has advanced. Sometimes tumor cells invade the blood vessels or the lymph or nerve channels within breast tissue. It’s important to know about this before pursuing a treatment plan that will work for you.

Memorial Sloan Kettering experts describe efforts to improve our understanding — and treatment — of breast cancer.

Not all breast cancers are the same, and they aren’t all treated in the same way, which is why having further testing and getting the most accurate diagnosis is so important. In fact, not only are there several types of breast cancer, but there are also sometimes more than one type in the same person.

Sometimes, the biology of a breast tumor changes if it spreads (metastasizes) to another part of the body. Evaluating a tumor’s microscopic characteristics is very important to help evaluate whether this is likely to happen.