print   Print full article

Non-laboratory tests

In addition to laboratory tests, there are non-laboratory tests that are equally important.

  • Mammography is widely recommended as a screening tool. A screening mammogram uses X-ray technology to produce an image of the breasts and can reveal breast cancer up to two years before a lump is large enough to be felt during a clinical or self-examination.
  • Digital mammography may yield a clearer image than a plain film mammography in some cases.
  • Younger women, whose breast tissue is often too dense to show tumours clearly on the X-ray film used for a standard mammogram, may benefit from ultrasound examination or rarely, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  • Ductal lavage is an experimental technique in which the doctor extracts cells via a tiny tube inserted through the patient's nipple. Trials have been undertaken in the US but more evidence will be required before it is known whether this will be a useful test for breast cancer.
For more information on mammography and other imaging technologies, go to Better Health ChannelJean Hailes Foundation for Women's HealthBreastScreen Australia


Last Review Date: August 1, 2018