Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Diagnosing invasive lobular carcinoma

Tests and procedures used to diagnose invasive lobular carcinoma include:

  • Mammogram. A mammogram creates an X-ray image of your breast. Invasive lobular carcinoma is less likely to be detected on a mammogram than other types of breast cancer are. Still, a mammogram is a useful diagnostic test.
  • Ultrasound. Ultrasound uses sound waves to create pictures of your breast. Invasive lobular carcinoma may be more difficult to detect with ultrasound than may other types of breast cancer.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI uses a strong magnetic field to create a picture of your breast. A breast MRI may help in evaluating the extent of the disease within your breast if other imaging tests have been inconclusive.
  • Removing a sample of tissue for testing. If an abnormality is detected, your doctor may recommend a biopsy procedure to remove a sample of suspicious breast tissue for laboratory testing. A breast biopsy can be done using a needle to draw out fluid or tissue from the breast, or breast tissue can be removed surgically.

Determining the extent of invasive lobular carcinoma

Once it's determined that you have invasive lobular carcinoma, your doctor works to learn the extent, or stage, of your cancer. Depending on your situation, your doctor may recommend imaging tests to stage your breast cancer, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT), among others.

Using this information, your doctor assigns your cancer a Roman numeral that indicates its stage. Breast cancer stages range from 0 to IV, with 0 indicating cancer that is very small and noninvasive. Stage IV breast cancer, also called metastatic breast cancer, indicates cancer that has spread to other areas of the body.

May. 22, 2012

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