By now, every woman knows or should know the importance of performing a monthly breast exam for them. Many times, it is the women themselves that are the first to detect the presence of a suspicious lump that requires further testing. This is an effective screening method if done on a regular basis so that you get to know your own body. It is also important to understand the proper technique. Detection of a lump is not the best breast cancer test and there many types of lumps that are non cancerous.
Many women know the importance of yearly mammograms in detecting breast cancer. Mammography remains one of the best tests available for the diagnose of breast cancer. Although women know it is important, many of them still fail to go for their yearly mammograms. One of the most common reasons cited is that mammography can be painful for certain women. Some women seem to be particularly more sensitive to this cancer test than others.
The pain involved with mammograms prevents many women from doing their yearly screenings. For women who do not get them due to the pain, they often wonder if there are any other tests that could be performed for their cancer screening. Taking a biopsy is the next line of defense if a suspicious lump is identified through mammography. The goal is to not to have to go that far unless it is really necessary because this cancer test is very painful, even more so than mammography.
In response to the question about whether there is any other test that can be used to detect breast cancer; the answer is that cancer research specialists are attempting to develop better screening methods all the time. Currently, there are some new tests on the horizon that involve a simple blood test. The ER, PR, HER2, and Ki67 measure proteins in the blood. These tests are very expensive and are only available through one lab in the United States. Another cancer test, IHC4 is being used routinely in the UK. It is not known if these new tests will eventually replace mammography, but they do offer hope in the future.
There are new tests on the horizon for breast cancer detection that offer a promise of more comfort and accuracy in screening than the current ones available. They are limited by availability and expense at the current time. It is doubtful that insurance would be willing to pay for them until the price comes down. As with many new tests, the price is likely to come down as the equipment to perform the tests becomes more common. For right now, mammography remains the best detection method for breast cancer.