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Breast Cancer - Exams and Tests

Tests if your doctor thinks that breast cancer has spread

If your doctor thinks that breast cancer may have spread to other organs in your body (metastasized), he or she may order additional testing, including a bone scan or CT scans.

Follow-up tests

If you have had breast cancer in one breast, you have an increased risk for developing breast cancer again. Breast cancer can come back in the same breast, on the chest wall, in your other breast, or somewhere else in your body. You can expect to have:

  • Physical exams. The frequency of your physical exams depends on your general health and the type of breast cancer you have. In general, you will see your doctor every 3 to 6 months for 3 years and then every 6 months until 5 years have passed since your diagnosis of breast cancer. Then you may see your doctor once a year.
  • Mammograms to screen for breast cancer and to investigate lumps that can be felt during a breast exam.

If you find any unusual changes in the treated area or in your other breast, or if you have swollen lymph glands or bone pain, call your doctor to discuss these changes. For more information, see the topic Breast Cancer, Metastatic or Recurrent.

It is important to know what your breasts normally look and feel like. When you know what is normal for you, you are better able to notice changes. Tell your doctor right away if you notice any changes in your breasts.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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