If you perform monthly breast exams, it can be extremely disconcerting to find a lump in your breast tissue. While this may cause you a great deal of concern and worry, there are steps that you can and should take before you jump to the breast cancer conclusion. Get to know some of these steps so that you can be sure of what the lump in your breast is and is not so that you can then develop a plan for dealing with the issue quickly and effectively.
Have a Mammogram and Exam with Your Physician
The first step that you should take is to call your physician and set up an appointment for a manual breast exam as well as a mammogram. A mammogram is a standard screening exam that provides images from multiple angles of the breast tissue to look for anomalies and anything out of the ordinary in the breast tissue.
A mammogram will give your physician an idea of the health of both breasts and determine if the lump is isolated and whether or not it should be of concern. It is more likely that your breast lump is a benign cyst or clogged milk duct rather than a sign of cancer, but every step that you can take to find out more will help give you peace of mind.
Get an MRI
After a standard examination and mammogram, your doctor may feel as if you need more testing to determine what is causing the lump in your breast. An MRI, also known as a magnetic resonance imaging scan, can help you and your doctors to get a good view of the mass.
An MRI is a quick and painless test that is essentially a high-powered x-ray scan that gives a detailed and multilayered image of the breast tissues. This helps to give your physician a better idea of how deep the lump goes, the type of tissue it might be, and an array of other information that different scans cannot show.
Have a Breast Biopsy Performed
Along with the scans, it will likely also be reassuring and helpful to have a breast biopsy performed on the mass in your breast. A biopsy means that the physician will take a sample of the tissue in your breast to run tests on in a lab.
The sample tissue can be run under a high-powered microscope to determine if the cells are normal or not. A biopsy may be performed with the lump left in your breast using a needle aspiration technique or can be done after the entire lump has been removed from the breast.
With these steps and options in mind, you can be sure that you find out what the lump in your breast is and how you should proceed as soon as possible.