Diagnosing Breast Cancer
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Accurate and Early Diagnosis is Key to Successful Treatment
As a national breast cancer research center, Fox Chase has radiologists with specific expertise in breast cancer treatment and diagnosis. Fox Chase is a leader in defining the role of stereotactic biopsy in diagnosing breast cancer.
Our diagnostic radiologists, led by Kathryn Evers, MD, provide state-of-the-art breast imaging techniques. Breast-imaging services are also available for second opinions and screening.
You should notify your doctor if you notice any changes in your breasts.
Diagnostic Tools and Procedures for Breast Cancer
Biopsies are performed on an outpatient basis to remove suspicious cells or tissues. At Fox Chase, world-renowned pathologists with expertise in breast cancer study the cells or tissues using a microscope. They determine if cancer is present and if so, specifically what type of cancer. An accurate diagnosis is critical to determine your best breast cancer treatment options. There are several types of biopsies:
Fox Chase Cancer Center has been named a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology (ACR) for mammography, breast ultrasound, ultrasound-guided biopsy, and stereotactic biopsy.
This designation is awarded to breast imaging centers that achieve excellence by seeking and earning accreditation in all of the ACR's voluntary breast-imaging accreditation programs and modules, in addition to the mandatory Mammography Accreditation Program.
To schedule a mammography appointment,
call 215-728-2646 or 728-2631.
Mammography is an X-ray of the breast that is most commonly used to detect breast cancer. Fox Chase has installed the LORAD Selenia™, providing full-field digital mammography — one of the world's most sophisticated systems.
Digital mammography offers women several advantages over film mammography:
- Better screening for women under age 50 or those with dense breasts
- Improvement in image storage and transmission (can be sent electronically)
- Fewer false positive results
- Uses less radiation
- Selenia features the largest detector available-imaging almost any breast without requiring multiple exposures.
- Software is used to help radiologists interpret digital mammograms
Computer-Aided Detection (CAD) allows Fox Chase radiologists to maximize the accuracy of reading mammograms by using a computer to scan mammograms for abnormalities. This has resulted in improved early detection of breast cancer with screening.
High-frequency sound waves and ultrasound images are used to diagnose breast disease.
Medicare has approved the use of PET scans for staging and re-staging breast cancer metastatic disease (cancer that has spread). A PET scan is a noninvasive test and is more accurate than any other test alone in detecting metastatic breast cancer and diagnosing prognosis. Although PET cannot detect microscopic cancer, it can find clusters of tumor cells in other tissues or organs in the body.
PET is not a screening tool and is not a replacement for mammography. In special circumstances, a PET scan can help determine whether or not a lump in the breast is benign or malignant.
Finally, PET scans can be used to determine what response a breast cancer is having to prescribed chemotherapy. This information can be collected early during the course of treatment to help physicians determine if a change in breast cancer chemotherapy is needed.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI may be used in addition to mammography to diagnose breast cancer in women at high risk for getting breast cancer. Many of these women are carriers of the breast cancer gene and are candidates for a genetic test for breast cancer.
Breast MRI also may be used in some cases to evaluate the breasts before definitive breast surgery for cancer and to evaluate abnormalities seen on mammography or ultrasound or detected on physical examination. MRI does not replace mammography for routine screening or for diagnosis.
Allows physicians to trace the lymphatic drainage patterns from the breast cancer tumor to the nearest lymph nodes during surgery where the cancer may spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body. More than 70% of breast cancer patients avoid more aggressive types of surgery due to this operative technique.
A new test, Oncotype DX™, is available to select patients with early stage breast cancer, one type of breast cancer. Results allow Fox Chase physicians to determine whether you need breast cancer chemotherapy (drug) and if so, which combinations may be right for you. In addition, it predicts the chance of your breast cancer coming back.
For more information about breast cancer treatment and prevention at Fox Chase Cancer Center or to make an appointment, call 1-888-FOX CHASE (1-888-369-2427). The breast cancer scheduling department can be reached at 215-728-3001.