Breast cancer can be diagnosed by undergoing the following procedures:

  • Breast exam. The doctor will examine the breast for abnormalities or lumps starting from breasts to the armpits.
  • Mammogram.It functions like an x-ray and if any abnormalities were found on a screening mammogram, you will be sent for a diagnostic mammogram.
  • Breast ultrasound. It is an imaging test that sends high-frequency sound waves through the breast and converts them into images on a viewing screen. This examination is used to assess breast tissue, also used to assess blood flow to areas inside the breasts.
  • Biopsy. It is a test used to identify the cause of an abnormal lump or tumor in the breast. A sample of the tissue will be collected and checked in the laboratory in order to find out whether the abnormal tissue is breast cancer or not.
    The biopsy result will also help determine the cell type involved, the cancer grade, and possible treatment options.
    The following are different types of biopsies typically used in early cancer detection:

    • Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) Biopsy
    • Stereotactic Core Biopsy
    • Needle (Wire) Localization Biopsy
  • Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).  Creates images inside the breast using magnetic field and radio waves. A dye will also be injected prior to MRI for clearer images.


Breast cancer treatment option is chosen based on its type, grade, stage, size and hormone sensitivity. Women mostly undergo surgery to remove breast cancer as well as chemotherapy, hormone therapy or radiation.

Breast cancer surgery

Surgeries performed to treat breast cancer:

  • Lumpectomy. This surgery removes the breast cancer and some tissues surrounding it. Indicated for smaller tumor but if performed in a larger tumor, chemotherapy should be done prior to surgery to facilitate tumor shrinkage and remove it easily.
  • Mastectomy.  The surgery removes all breast tissues.
  • Sentinel node biopsy.The sentinel lymph nodes are removed in this procedure and sent to pathology for examination under a microscopic to check for cancer type. The sentinel lymph node is believed to be the first lymph node which breast tumor spread to. The procedure is done by injecting a dye to detect which lymph node to remove. Once laboratory test results to cancer-free lymph nodes, there is no need to remove other lymph nodes.
  • Axillary lymph node dissection. If sentinel lymph node biopsy results positive for cancer, the surgeon will recommend to remove all or most of the underarm lymph nodes group.
  • Contralateral prophylactic mastectomy or removing both breasts. If there is a strong family history of breast cancer, some women will opt to remove the breast with cancer as well as the other breast that is healthy. Although, some may not develop cancer on the healthy breast, it would be best to consult your doctor for best recommendations.
    Breast reconstruction is also possible after breast cancer surgery and you may be referred to a plastic surgeon to discuss your options.

Radiation therapy

This is the use of high-energy rays or particles to treat the disease. It is done by killing tumor cells or inhibiting their growth and duplication. Years of study by radiation oncologists have led to the widespread use of effective, tolerable doses of radiation. It may be used in more advanced breast cancer to control the disease or to treat symptoms such as pain.


The use of specific drugs to kill cancer cells. This medication usually administered orally or intravenously. Chemotherapy enters the bloodstream and travels throughout the body. The treatment is most commonly used to decrease risk of recurrent tumor after surgery, shrink breast cancer after surgery when the tumor is large or inflamed, and control metastatic breast cancer which has spread to other organs in the body.

Hormone therapy

The change of hormonal environment in your body, impacts the growth and behavior of some breast cancers. If your breast cancer produces one of the hormone receptors estrogen receptor (ER) or progesterone receptor (PR) then hormonal therapy is effective in treating early-stage, metastatic or advanced breast cancer and help preventing a recurrence.

Targeted therapy drugs

Targeted Therapy is a medication for cancer that has been developed to be exceptionally precise. Meaning, it will specifically targets cells that have a mutated receptor or targets the receptor that has the primary mechanism of developing cancer. This leads to obtaining a good result of the treatment and a positive response to medications.

Doctors may recommend this treatment if the breast cancer has metastasized to other locations of the body. Targeted therapy medications include monoclonal antibodies, antibody-drug conjugates and kinase inhibitors.


Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that relies on the function of the patient’s immune system. Typically, the immune system keeps monitoring and destroying all of the foreign substances, such as germs or cancer cells. However, it cannot detect cancer cells sometimes. Immunotherapy helps to boost the effectiveness of the immune system to detect and fight against the cancer. Nevertheless, the oncologist will choose and plan the proper treatment that will suit with individual patient, depending on the type and stage of the cancer, as well as the patient’s overall health conditions.