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Confirming a Breast Cancer Diagnosis

By getting regular screening mammograms and talking with your doctor about any breast cancer symptoms you experience, you're doing all you can to keep breast cancer out of your future. But know this: Should your screening mammograms highlight an area of concern, or should the symptoms you discuss with your doctor indicate that something is amiss with your breast health, we can help.

At Randolph Hospital, we use state-of-the-art breast testing techniques to help us understand what might be happening with your health. And we use those tests to guide the breast cancer treatments you'll get at Randolph Health.

These are a few of the tests we use in our Breast Center.

Breast Ultrasound Tests: Seeing Inside Unusual Tissue

A breast ultrasound is a prudent next step when mammography highlights breast abnormalities. For example, an ultrasound can help your doctor determine if a suspicious area is a noncancerous cyst or another type of change that might require additional testing.

In our Breast Center, breast ultrasound tests are performed by technologists or physicians. The machines they use send high-frequency waves through tissues and to a computer, which translates those waves into images. Ultrasound does not use any radiation and is usually pain-free. An ultrasound exam usually lasts between 20 and 30 minutes.

When your test is complete, your doctor will discuss the images with you, so you'll know what happened and what should happen next.

Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy: Another Way to View Breast Cancer

Your doctor might also use ultrasound to help take samples of unusual breast tissue. We use local anesthesia to help numb the breast. Then we use an ultrasound probe to locate the abnormal tissue, and we guide a hollow needle into the mass to obtain tissue samples for analysis. Most patients report little to no pain during the procedure, which takes about 30 minutes to complete. Most people return to their normal routine the same day.

Stereotactic Breast Biopsy: Sampling Unusual Tissues

A stereotactic breast biopsy, also known as an x-ray-guided biopsy, is another way to examine unusual breast tissue. Your team views the usual spot with two different x-ray angles and then inserts a hollow needle into the abnormal area to remove cells for analysis. The tabletop is raised and the radiologist and technologist perform the procedure from beneath.

Your breast will be slightly compressed and held in position throughout the procedure. We use local anesthesia to numb the area. Most patients report little pain during the procedure, which takes about an hour. No stitches are needed.

Preparing for Breast Cancer Tests

Before you come to the Breast Center for your testing procedures, we'll contact you and talk about the steps you'll need to take in order to prepare. We might ask you to stop taking blood-thinning medications, for example. You'll know just what to do after we call.

At the Breast Center at Randolph Health, we typically provide biopsy results on the next business day. If you have any questions about what the results mean in terms of your breast cancer stage or future breast cancer risk, our doctors are here to help. Caring for people with cancer is what we do, and it's work that we love. We'll be sure you have the support you need. In addition, you're welcome to bring a friend or family member with you for added support to any of your tests.