Annual mammograms are recommended from the age of 40 in healthy women in order to pick up cancers at the earliest possible stage. The screening protocol involves both mammograms and ultrasounds in order to optimize accuracy. Breast Ultrasounds are recommended for patients younger than 35 (in those with appropriate risk factors).
An ultrasound examination of the breast is performed by the radiologist to either supplement the mammogram (especially in women with dense breast tissue) or to replace the mammogram in young women and pregnant women.”
MRI scanning of the breast is the most sensitive test we have to pick up cancers. Breast MRI is recommended as the (annual) screening test of choice in women at high risk of breast cancer*. Breast MRI should be performed in most women who are diagnosed with a cancer prior to treatment. MRI breast biopsies – a cancer seen only on MRI can only be biopsied using an MRI guidance technique.
Biopsies – sampling test whereby a needle is inserted into the suspicious area and tissue samples are extracted which can then be sent to the pathology lab for definitive testing. All biopsies are done under local anaesthetic – other than a small injection, the procedures are painless and only take about 20 minutes.