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Breast cancer question; If breast cancer is found in the…

Breast cancer question;If breast cancer...
Breast cancer question;If breast cancer is found in the breast. What tests are done to see if it has spread ?
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Answered in 18 minutes by:
3/15/2018
Doctor Jennifer
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 105
Experience: Surgery Fellow
Verified

Hi, I'm Dr Jennifer, and I'm a surgery fellow.

Often times you will get a breast ultrasound which will look at the armpit (axillary) lymph nodes as well, to see if any are enlarged or suspicious. If so, they can be biopsied to see if they have cancer.

Many doctors will also get a CT scan of the chest, abdomen and pelvis. But others will take lab tests first to see if there are any signs of bone or liver invasion, and only get a CT scan if those are positive. However, if axillary lymph nodes are positive, most doctors will get more imaging of the rest of the body to check if the cancer has spread elsewhere from the nodes, sometimes including a whole-body PET scan, which looks for cancer everywhere.

Does that answer your question? Let me know if I can clarify anything. If you're satisfied with my service, please consider giving me a 5 star rating!

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thank you for quick response. I am going to Sound crazy.. but this is my story lolSeptember- got bite by a bug / tic. In left breast. Next day had lump in spot pressed it the pain was crazy. I have fibercyctics and always had lumpy breasts. - didnt even think of bite - thought breast cancer maybe having bad period. But most of pain in left. Since SeptemberMammogram
Focus sonogram
CT scan of brain
MRI of spine
Chest X-ray
Hormone tests
3 breast exams from surgeon last one December
Transvaginal sonogram
Full blood work every month including ANa choice thyroid panel and C- proteinThe only think that came up was Lyme disease ( but was short 1 band on IGg. 3 IgM bands 4 IGg. C6 peptide Eliza Postive.My breast pain is back in the left. I have an appt for a beast surgeon as I can except everything is associated with Lyme.If there is something cancerous. In your opinion would something come up on these scans if it spread?I’m not some crazy that thinks there always sick lol. I have never been sick and this experience has been terrible. My mom had BC so I fear thy the most

It can be really scary when we can't figure out what's going on! But unfortunately in medicine there's a lot we still don't know. But with a mammogram and an ultrasound, if they couldn't find any mass, it's highly unlikely that there's a cancer there. If they do find a mass, but it has classic fibrocystic characteristics, they probably won't biopsy it. If it looks at all suspicious, they would likely do a biopsy, and then you'd have an answer.

If nothing was found on the mammo and ultrasound, I think the best possible due diligence has been done.

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Chest Xray would likely have caught any metastasis to the lungs; on the blood word did they do an alkaline phosphatase? It would have been on the liver panel. An elevation there would suggest bone metastasis. Similarly, elevations on the liver panel would suggest liver mets. If all of those were normal, very rare to have a metastasis. Those are the three most common areas for breast cancer to go. And you have the brain covered also with the CT scan.

But to be honest, there would be findings on either the mammogram or the ultrasound before there would be a metastasis; there would definitely be findings on the ultrasound in the axilla first, since breast cancer spreads through the lymph nodes preferentially. If all of that has been negative, I'm pretty confident that's not what's going on.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
If there is something there what is the chances that it spread with all these tests done ? I have very dense breasts so I’m scared they missed something. I know I sound crazy. But I just want to know

Extremely low. Ultrasound is a good modality for breast cancer screening in women with dense breasts.

Doctor Jennifer
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 105
Experience: Surgery Fellow
Verified
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
it was the only test I was not happy about. It was a focus exam so she did 6-8 which said on the report. My pain is 9. So it bothers me. But I think if she seen 8 she would 9 ? Thanks for the response.
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