Breast cancer diagnosis

The most common symptom of breast cancer is a lump in the breast. Other symptoms that may indicate breast cancer include tightening of the nipple or skin of the breast, a change in breast size or shape, a rash in the nipple or areola region, nipple discharge (especially if bloody rather than clear), mammary pain unrelated to the menstrual cycle, and inflammation that does not subside with antibiotic therapy.
Breast cancer that has no symptoms is often found in mammography, either as part of a screening program or for other reasons.

If a patient has a lump or some other symptom suggesting breast cancer, mammography should be performed urgently, along with ultrasound examination of the breasts and armpits. A core needle biopsy is taken under local anesthesia of any suspicious mammography or ultrasound findings. If suspect lymph nodes are found in the armpit, a needle biopsy must be taken of those as well. These studies are done at a public health center, in occupational health care or at a private medical center.

If core needle biopsy results reinforce the suspicion of breast cancer, the patient is referred to the HUCH Breast Surgery Unit by the public health center, occupational health or private-sector physician.

A patient who has a symptom suggesting breast cancer, or suspicious mammogram or ultrasound findings, should be referred to the Breast Surgery Unit for diagnosis confirmation even if no cancer is found in the biopsies.