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Breast Cancer Health Center

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Breast Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Patient Information [NCI] - What is screening?

Screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. This can help find cancer at an early stage. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread.

Scientists are trying to better understand which people are more likely to get certain types of cancer. They also study the things we do and the things around us to see if they cause cancer. This information helps doctors recommend who should be screened for cancer, which screening tests should be used, and how often the tests should be done.

Recommended Related to Breast Cancer

Man's Guide to Breast Cancer

John W. Anderson has stood by his mother, wife, sister, and his mom’s closest friend as they battled breast cancer. His new book, Stand by Her: A Breast Cancer Guide for Men, published in time for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, details these experience, and all that he learned by being on the frontlines of this battle with four of the most important women in his life. From when to stay quiet, shave your head, or grab a beer with a buddy to get out of what he dubs "Cancerland," Anderson...

Read the Man's Guide to Breast Cancer article > >

It is important to remember that your doctor does not necessarily think you have cancer if he or she suggests a screening test. Screening tests are given when you have no cancer symptoms.

If a screening test result is abnormal, you may need to have more tests done to find out if you have cancer. These are called diagnostic tests.

See the following PDQ summary for more information about cancer screening:

  • Cancer Screening Overview

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 Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
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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