Research has found that survival is much higher when cancer is discovered in the early rather than the late stages. Breast cancer screening means checking a woman's breasts for cancer before there are signs or symptoms of the disease. Three main tests are typically used to screen the breasts for cancer. Talk to your doctor about which tests are right for you, and when you should have them.
- Breast Self Exam (BSE)
A breast self exam involves checking your own breasts for lumps or changes in your breast or underarm area. If any unusual lumps or tenderness is felt, you should notify your doctor or other health care provider.
- Clinical Breast Exam (CBE)
A Clinical Breast Exam is a physical examination of the breast done by your doctor or health care provider to feel for lumps or breast changes. Clinical breast exams can also be used to check for other breast problems.
- Screening Mammogram
A mammogram is an X-ray exam of the breasts to look for changes that are not normal. A mammogram allows your healthcare provider to have a closer look for changes in breast tissue that cannot be felt during a breast exam. A high quality mammogram in addition to a clinical breast exam is the most effective way to detect breast cancer early.
Tomosynthesis Breast Screening Technology
Ministry Breast Care Center, Stevens Point, is one of the first in the area to offer tomosynthesis, a technology that helps radiologists identify and characterize individual breast structures without the confusion of overlapping tissue. The system offers sharp breast images and an advanced ergonomic design providing more patient comfort. Breast cancer screening with tomosynthesis, when combined with a conventional 2D mammography, has a higher cancer detection rate than conventional 2D mammography alone. Radiologists are reporting that tomosynthesis technology gives them increased confidence with a significant reduction in recall rates. During a tomosynthesis exam, multiple, low-dose images of the breast are acquired at different angles. These images are then used to produce a series of one-millimeter thick slices that can be viewed as a 3D reconstruction of the breast.