How is breast cancer diagnosed?

Beyond physical examinations, doctors and medical specialists may use additional tests to find or diagnose breast cancer. Some of the tools and tests used to diagnose breast cancer include:

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