How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?

Doctors often use extra tests to find or diagnose breast cancer.

  • Breast ultrasound examination. A machine uses sound waves to develop detailed pictures, called sonograms, of areas inside the breast.
  • Diagnostic mammogram. If you have an issue in your breast, such as lumps, or if an area of the breast looks irregular on a screening mammogram, doctors may have you get a diagnostic mammogram. This is a much more detailed X-ray of the breast.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A kind of body scan that makes use of a magnet linked to a computer. The MRI scan will make detailed images of areas inside the breast.
  • Biopsy. This is a test that removes tissue or fluid from the breast to be viewed at under a microscope and do more testing. There are various kinds of biopsies (for example, fine-needle aspiration, core biopsy, or open biopsy).


If breast cancer is diagnosed, other exams are done to find out if cancer cells have spread within the breast or to other parts of the body. This procedure is called staging. No matter if the cancer is only in the breast, is found in lymph nodes under your arm, or has pass on outside the breast determines your stage of breast cancer. The kind and stage of breast cancer informs doctors what kind of treatment you need.


How Is Breast Cancer Treated?  >>