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Diagnosing Breast Cancer Symptoms

Being diagnosed with breast cancer means your doctor has found cancerous cells in your breast tissue. There are many types of breast cancer, including invasive and noninvasive cancer, so what happens next depends on the type and stage of your breast cancer

If you’ve just been diagnosed with breast cancer, you’re not alone. In the US, around 230,000 women are diagnosed every year. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting women after skin cancer

At Dignity Health, our board�certified radiologists and licensed, female mammography technologists are experts at finding and diagnosing breast cancer.

If you’ve noticed any breast cancer symptoms in the Bay Area, Find a Doctor who can provide expert diagnostic testing and comprehensive treatment, if needed.

What are the Symptoms of Breast Cancer?

Most of the time, breast cancer is found during a mammogram. However, it’s important to see your doctor as soon as possible if you notice symptoms such as:

  • Breast lump or mass
  • Discharge that isn’t breast milk
  • Change in shape, size, or appearance of the breast or nipple
  • Inverted nipple
  • Nipple tenderness
  • Rash or other skin changes on the breast or nipple
  • Swelling in the breast

Understanding Your Breast Cancer Diagnosis

If your Dignity Health doctor has found a suspicious area on your mammogram or a lump in your breast, you will need additional tests. These may include:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Ultrasound
  • Diagnostic mammograms

At Sequoia Hospital’s Breast and Diagnostic Center and St. Mary's Medical Center, we offer 3-D (tomosynthesis) mammography. This state-of-the-art technology increases detection, decreases unnecessary biopsies, and allows for simultaneous 2-D and 3-D screenings.

Depending on the results of diagnostic imaging, you may also need a biopsy. This small sample of breast tissue will allow your doctor to determine if the cells are cancerous and learn more about their characteristics, such as hormone receptor status

Early detection of breast cancer offers the highest chance of successful treatment. Talk to your doctor about what types of cancer screening are right for you.