If your doctor suspects you may have recurrent breast cancer based on results of a mammogram or physical exam, or because of signs and symptoms, he or she may recommend additional tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Tests and procedures may include:
Jun. 05, 2014
Imaging tests. What imaging tests you'll undergo will depend on your situation. Imaging tests may include a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT) scan, X-ray, bone scan or positron emission tomography (PET) scan.
Not every person needs every test. Your doctor will determine which tests are most helpful in your particular situation.
Removing a sample of tissue for lab testing (biopsy). Your doctor may recommend a biopsy procedure to collect suspicious cells for testing. Working in a laboratory, a pathologist examines the cells and determines the types of cells involved.
A pathologist can determine if the cancer is a recurrence of cancer or a new type of cancer. Tests also show whether the cancer is sensitive to hormone treatment or targeted therapy.
- Niederhuber JE, et al., eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 12, 2014.
- Breast cancer. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed March 12, 2014.
- When cancer returns. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/when-cancer-returns. Accessed March 12, 2014.
- Distress management. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed March 12, 2014.
- Hurria A, et al. Patterns of relapse and long-term complications of therapy in breast cancer survivors. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 13, 2014.
- Rock CL, et al. Nutrition and physical activity guidelines for cancer survivors. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2012;62:242.
- Pruthi S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 17, 2014.
- Moynihan TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 25, 2014.
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