What Are The Diagnosis and Staging Of Breast Cancer?

Surgical biopsy

Even if less invasive biopsy techniques don’t show cancer, some may indicate certain benign conditions that should be removed. These areas can be completely taken out with surgery through a small incision in the breast. Only a small proportion of women need surgical biopsies.

Hormone and genetic tests

If a biopsy shows that a patient has cancer, physicians will study the hormones and genes present in her biopsied tissue in order to learn:

  • What type of cancer she has
  • How quickly the cancer may grow
  • How likely it is that the cancer will spread through the body
  • How well certain treatments might work
  • How likely the cancer is to recur

Tests include the following:

Estrogen and progesterone receptor test

Some cancers are fed by the hormones estrogen and progesterone.  This test determines how much estrogen and progesterone feed the tumor and cause it to grow.  When tumors are driven by these hormones, treatment to block estrogen and progesterone may stop the cancer from growing. This test measures the amount of estrogen and progesterone (hormones) receptors in cancer tissue.

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