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Adijat asked...

I can feel a lump in my breast

Tags: cancer

I can feel a lump in my left breast. What tests do I need to ascertain whether or not it is breast cancer? Where do I go for this (these) test(s)?

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The answer

It’s always important to get breast lumps checked out but it is also important to remember that most breast lumps are not cancerous. The first port of call if you have a breast lump is your GP. They will examine you and will be able to give you some indication of how likely it is that there is a potentially worrying cause. If they have any concerns, they will refer you to a hospital breast clinic (either on the NHS or privately), where you will often be able to have a full assessment and investigations at a single visit. These investigations include mammography (an X-ray examination of your breast tissue), an ultrasound of the breast tissue and, if appropriate, a biopsy. If you are found to have a cyst in the breast causing your lump, the specialist will often draw off a small amount of the fluid in a syringe and send it to a laboratory to be looked at under a microscope. This is called fine needle aspiration. If the lump is solid, you may have a ‘core needle biopsy’, in which a hollow needle is inserted into the lump under ultrasound or X-ray control, and a small sample of the tissue removed and sent to the laboratory for examination.

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