Techniques Used For Early Detection Of Breast Cancer

Techniques Used For Early Detection Of Breast Cancer
April 1, 2024 by admin

Breast cancer is one of the most commonly occurring cancer types and presents as an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Prompt detection with the best oncologists in Chennai helps you to diagnosethe disease in its earliest stages when there are fewer complications and this is when it can be treated most successfully. Doctors use several tests for detecting breast cancer and use risk assessment methods to identify the associated risk factors.

Breast cancer can affect both sexes. Doctors give different screening recommendations depending on the case. However, for the patient, it is vital to speak with the doctor to know more about your specific risk factors for the disease.

In this article, we attempt to discuss the screening tools and risk assessment tools that will help to catch the disease in its earliest stages.

Common signs and Symptoms of Cancer

Early signs and symptoms of breast cancer may vary for different individuals. Some patients may not have any signs or symptoms at all. In such cases, the doctors may discover the presence of cancer during screening.

Some of the early signs and symptoms may include:

  • A lump in the breast or surrounding area (armpit)
  • Darkening of skin or swelling of the breast
  • Dimpling of the breast skin
  • Pulling in of the nipple (retraction)
  • Discharge from the nipple
  • Flaking of the skin
  • Change in size/shape of the breast

The presence of these symptoms does not automatically mean that breast cancer is present. However, some other conditions may also present similar symptoms but accurate diagonization is required for accurate treatment. Hence, approach the Sugam Hospital’s diagnostic labs in Chennai for timely findings.

Breast Cancer – Screening Methods

Breast cancer screening means checking the breasts for any signs of cancer even before any of the symptoms of the disease appear.

As some forms of the disease may not have any obvious symptoms or any other indication, a person should report immediately to a doctor in case they notice any changes in the breast. Early detection greatly improves the outcomes of the treatment.

Breast cancer screening involves different methods to inspect breast tissue using physical methods or imaging. Some of the tests are given below.


A mammogram is a scanning method that uses low-dose X-rays. The resulting breast image of the scan helps to detect early signs of cancer. A mammogram can detect the disease up to 2 years before a lump can be physically felt by you or the doctor. Therefore, it is one of the most important breast cancer screening tests.

During a mammogram, the individual is made to stand in front of the special X-ray machine made for the purpose. The breast is flattened using two plates and this renders a uniform image of the breast. The process is repeated for both the breasts in different dimensions. The whole test takes only a few moments and the pain and the discomfort are negligible.

Generally, doctors recommend that individuals should screen themselves regularly using mammograms starting from the age of 45. The frequency will be recommended by your consulting specialist.

Risk factors of the disease

According to doctors, a majority of cases of breast cancer cannot be linked to a specific cause. However, some of the risk factors are as follows:

  • Increasing age: approximately, 80% of the cases are detected in individuals aged 50 years or more.
  • Someone who has had cancer in one breast has a higher chance of developing the disease on the other.
  • Someone with an immediate relative having breast cancer (young relative, say, before 40 years of age) has a higher risk of having the disease. Having distant relatives with cancer also means you have a higher risk of getting the disease.
  • Changes to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes and other genetic mutations in a person indicate a higher risk of getting breast cancer. For getting to know the inherited risk for cancer, you may have to undergo comprehensive biomarker testing.
  • There is also a link between reproductive history and the menstrual cycle of a woman that could up the risk factor for getting breast cancer. They are:
  • Early menarche before age 12
  • Late menopause after age 55
  • Never had children or childbirth in the later stages of life or mothers who are not breastfeeding
  • Use of menopausal hormone therapy and some types of birth control may up the chances of developing breast cancer.

Lifestyle Factors

Some lifestyle factors may increase the risk of breast cancer. They are:

  • Being overweight or obese after menopause
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Reproductive history
  • Alcohol use
  • Use of hormones

Doctors recommend that these factors can be modified to reduce the risk of getting the disease.

Risk assessment tools

A doctor may use risk assessment methods such as the Breast Cancer Risk Calculator or the Tyrer-Cuzick score, in which the patient answers questions about medical and family history and other factors that are influencers.

The results of the risk assessments are not definitive but they give the doctors an indication of a person’s breast cancer risk. They then give their recommendations about when and how often they may need screening.


Ultrasound scanning uses sound waves to create an image of the breast. The technician moves a handheld probe over the surface of the breast after applying a gel. This probe sends out sound waves that bounce off the inner tissues. The image is captured on a computer and the results are interpreted. Ultrasound scanning is not painful but may be uncomfortable for some.


A breast MRI session makes use of magnets and radio frequencies to make a detailed picture of the breast tissue. In some cases, the doctor may inject a contrast dye, before the scan, into the patient’s arm to get a more detailed image.

The person lies on a flat table that slides into the MRI tube machine for the scan. Some patients may feel claustrophobic inside the tube. The magnets also make some noises as they move. However, the test is painless. Sugam Hospital, the Cancer Treatment In Chennai, has advanced equipment and devices for timely diagnosis.


A doctor may recommend a biopsy if some part of the body scanned throws up suspicions during the screening. In a biopsy, a small bit of tissue is removed from the suspicious part and this is sent to the laboratory for inspection.

Recommending a tissue biopsy does not necessarily mean the patient has cancer. Some biopsy results show up as ‘benign’ meaning it is not cancer or as ‘malignant’ in case it is. An early biopsy helps in the early detection of the disease.

Other tests

Some doctors may also recommend other testing/screening options depending on the case such as:

  • Breast tomosynthesis
  • Electrical impedance imaging
  • Contrast-enhanced mammography
  • Positron emission mammography
  • Molecular breast imaging

About Sugam Hospital Chennai:

As an NABH accredited institution, at Sugam Hospital, we have the best oncologists in the city. We offer a wide range of ultramodern oncological diagnostic services including MRI, CT scan, Mammogram, and a full-fledged Histopathology laboratory. We are also equipped with the bestdiagnostic labs for advanced cancer screening tests are made available for our patients.

Sugam Hospital being the best hospital in the city, we have an expert in-house team of medical and surgical oncologists and radiologists who are familiar with the latest treatment techniques for cancer.

As the best cancer hospital in Chennai, Sugam Hospital, we offer services in Paediatric, surgical and haemato oncology, regular and high-dose chemotherapy services as well as preventive oncology and cancer screening services.