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Top 5 breast cancer tests

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women – it is the second leading cause of cancer death in women (in some countries after lung cancer and in other countries after skin cancer). The average women risk for breast cancer development during lifetime is about 10-15% (depending on country health care and health statistics). Some women have higher risks and some have less risk factors. Health experts estimate that one woman among every 8 women has chances for breast cancer development (1 in 8). The chance that woman could die from breast cancer is about 2.5-2.7% (in average1 in 38 women). This is why it is crucial to detect breast cancer as soon as possible because only very early diagnosis can open chances for breast cancer survival. Modern medicine offers few breast cancer tests which can detect breast cancer before it is spread.

Many women with breast cancer have no symptoms and thousands found breast cancer when it is difficult to treat. Early breast cancer detection is the most important strategy for survival. Breast cancer incidents are growing (including male breast cancer) in many countries which can be also explained by better diagnosis. Scientists noted that incidence rates have been stable in white women. Special attention should be paid to ethnic peculiarities in breast cancer sufferers.

Thanks to earlier detection through screening breast cancer tests, increased awareness and improved treatment modules, presently there are millions of breast cancer survivors. Getting regular screening tests is the best and most reliable way to find breast cancer at early stages. The goal of breast cancer tests is to find it before it causes symptoms – then it is found early, when it’s small and has not spread, it is easier to treat successfully. Top 5 breast cancer tests include mammography, breast cancer detection with high-tech bra, breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), tumor markers and breast biopsy.

Women with increased risks of breast cancer such as women with family history of breast cancer, with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, with radiation therapy before 30 should pay special attention to existing screening breast cancer tests.

Top 5 breast cancer tests – Mammography

Top 5 breast cancer tests

Mammography is the most popular breast cancer screening test (X-ray of breasts). Mammography can detect most morphological abnormalities including breast lumps and breast cysts. Mammogram can identify even very early stages of breast cancer (so called “cancer in-situ”). Earlier breast cancer is detected; the greater are chances for survival.

Annual screening mammography is recommended to all women after 40. Women with higher risks should start annual mammography from 30.

Routine annual mammography breast cancer detection rate is about 80-85% but nowadays advancing technologies raise detection rate. Newly introduced methods of mammography (3-D mammography, digital mammography and digital tomosynthesis) can identify cancerous transformations earlier and clearer.

Annual screening mammography is pretty simple routine test to check for breast cancer or other breast abnormalities (lumps, cysts, etc.). Duration of procedure is about 15-20 minutes. Mammograms require very small doses of radiation and the risk of radiation exposure from a mammography is considered virtually nonexistent. Only repeated X-rays can have the influence at body cells. Best time for screening mammography is one week after menstrual period (time when breasts are least likely to be tender).

Top 5 breast cancer tests – Breast cancer detection with high-tech bra

In 2015 a new clinical trial started on new technology that could revolutionize breast cancer detection. Compared with mammography and breast ultrasound, this “magic” system can be used by women at home. Newly developed breast cancer detection with high-tech bra has potentially life-saving information transmitted to personal computer or mobile.

This newly developed breast cancer detecting bra is comfortable discreet intelligent system inserted into the bra. High-tech bra (iTBra) consists of two wearable, comfortable intelligent breast patches which detect circadian temperature changes within breast tissue. Through computer or mobile whole information sent to special laboratory for analysis and predictions. Once the data is submitted, experts can deliver accurate reproducible and automated results to health care providers automatically and within minutes.

“The heat changes correlate to the accelerated cell activity associated with breast tumors. The results are then processed using sophisticated algorithms and transmitted to smartphone. Patches can be worn inside any normal bra. It’s a wearable device with a number of sensors that check what happens with your circadian patterns of heat change on your breast over time. You wear the device for a few hours, and that information is automatically communicated to your physician”.
Rob Royea, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Cyrcadia Health, Inc.

Top 5 breast cancer tests – Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is noninvasive diagnostic test. This method uses magnet and radio waves to create pictures of the interior of the breast. Before making pictures women usually receive special injection.

MRI could be used in addition to mammography for earlier detection of breast cancer in women with higher risks. Breast MRI is not kind of replacement of mammography and it should be used as a complementary screening test. Although breast MRI may be more likely to find cancerous tumors than mammography but, at the same, breast MRI often misses some cancers that mammography easily detects.

Top 5 breast cancer tests – Tumor markers

Tumor markers are very important in oncology for earlier diagnosis and sooner treatment. Early cancer detection provides favorable prognosis and better survival rates. This is why hundreds of scientific institutes are working on tumor markers trying to identify specific sensitive tumor markers which can detect early stages of cancerous transformations. Actually tumor markers are either products of cancerous transformations, either substances produced by healthy cells which were attacked by cancer.

Tumor markets can be used not only for diagnostic purposes but also for treatment monitoring and for early detection of recurrences. Modern oncology knows about 200 tumor markers – some markets are very specific and could be considered as accurate diagnostic test, but some markets need additional information and additional tests.

Following tumor markers can be used for breast cancer detection:

CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) is not specific tumor marker and could be identified in cases of gastric/colorectal cancer, breast cancer, neoplastic processes in ovaries, thyroid cancer, metastatic processes in bones and liver.

CA-125 (Cancer Antigen 125) is a well known ovarian cancer marker but it could be also increased in cases of endometrial cancer, cervical cancer, breast cancer, cancer in lungs, gastric or esophageal cancer, colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, cancer in liver and lymphoma.

CA 15-3 (Cancer Antigen 15-3) is a specific protein found on the surface of several types of cancer cells and shed into the blood stream. This tumor marker is often used for monitoring of certain types of cancer (especially breast cancer). Increased levels of CA15-3 were noted in 80% of metastatic breast cancer cases. Increased levels of CA15-3 could appear in cases of breast carcinoma, bronchial carcinoma and gastric or colorectal cancer.

CA 19-9 (Cancer Antigen 19-9) is known as tumor marker for gastrointestinal system and pancreas with 82% accuracy. Increased levels of CA 19-9 could occur in cases of breast cancer, cancer in liver (gallbladder and liver ducts), cancer of female reproductive organs and bladder cancer.

CA 72-4 (Cancer Antigen 72-4) is the most specific marker for gastric cancer. Increased levels were observed also in cases of ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, breast cancer and pancreatic cancer.

Top 5 breast cancer tests – Breast biopsy

Breast biopsy is usually recommended in cases of suspicious breast tumors. Biopsy samples are sent to special laboratory which can identify cancerous cells, type of cells, aggressiveness as well as hormone receptors or other receptors that could have the influence at treatment options.

Qualified clinics have different methodologies for taking breast biopsy – needle aspiration, needle biopsy, vacuum biopsy, punch biopsy, excision biopsy (surgical) and wire guided biopsy.


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