Investigations and diagnosis

There are a number of investigations and scans patients may have in order to find out whether they have a breast cancer.

These investigations allow doctors to make a diagnosis and see the extent of any disease.

Diagnostic investigations may include:

    • mammogram – an x-ray of the breast
    • ultrasound – a test that uses sound waves to examine the breasts
    • fine needle aspiration – a simple, painless procedure to remove a small tissue sample from the breast
    • core biopsy – takes a core sample of tissue from the lump. You may have this test under a local anaesthetic

For more information on the investigations and diagnosis of breast cancer, please visit this section on the Macmillan Cancer Support website.

Staging and grading

Your breast specialist needs certain information about the cancer to decide on the most appropriate treatment for you. This includes the stage of the cancer, its grade and whether it has receptors for hormones, proteins or both.

For more information on the staging and grading of breast cancer, please visit the breast cancer staging and grading section on the Macmillan Cancer Support website.

Results

Your investigation results will be discussed at the breast cancer multi-disciplinary meeting. The team will review all aspects of your care and recommend an appropriate treatment plan. A member of the team will discuss this with you.

The breast care nurse will spend as much time with you as you wish and will talk about your treatment and/or surgery.