Despite where you are in the fight against breast cancer, you probably already know that medical tests are an important part of detecting, diagnosing, and monitoring the disease. While there are many tests available to help you on your journey to overcoming breast cancer, most can be categorized in the following three areas:
- Screening tests, such as the mammogram, are utilized to detect breast cancer at its earliest stage possible. By undergoing a routine screening, you have a better chance of finding any irregularities, even before symptoms are noticeable, allowing for a much easier treatment process.
- Diagnostic tests, often in the form of a biopsy, are performed on those who are experiencing breast cancer symptoms, or who have abnormal results to a screening test. A diagnostic test can detect if cancer is present and, if so, whether the malignant tissue has spread beyond the breast. These tests can also provide insight as to which treatment may be most effective.
- Monitoring tests are used on those who have already been diagnosed with breast cancer. They are designed to monitor the progress of a patient’s therapies, as well as identify if a relapse has occurred.