DIAGNOSTIC METHODS IN BREAST CANCER DETECTION
Background. In the world as well as in Slovenia, breast cancer is the most frequent female cancer. Due to its high incidence, it appears to be a serious health and economic problem.
Content. Among other, tumour size at diagnosis, is an important prognostic factors of the course of the disease. The probability of axillary lymph node involvement as well as distant metastases is greater in larger tumours. This is the reason that encouraged the development of various diagnostic methods for early detection of small, clinically non-palpable breast tumours. Mammography, however, remains the »golden standard« of early breast cancer detection. It is the basic diagnostic method applied in all symptomatic women over 35 years of age and in asymptomatic women over 40 years of age. Ultrasonography (US), additional projections, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ductography are regarded as complementary diagnostic breast imaging techniques in addition to mammography. The detected changes in the breast can be further confirmed by US-, MR-guided or stereotactic biopsy. If necessary, surgical biopsy and the excision of a tissue sample, after wire or isotope localisation of the nonpalpable lesion, can be performed.
Conclusions. Any of the above mentioned diagnostic methods has advantages as well as drawbacks and only detailed knowledge and understanding of each of them may assure the best option.
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