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Breast cancer screening tests

Published:Friday | October 9, 2020 | 12:14 AM


An X-ray of the breast. For many women, mammograms are the best way to detect breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat, and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms.

Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer.

Breast magnetic resonance imaging

Uses magnets and radio waves to take pictures of the breast. MRIs are used along with mammograms to screen women who are at high risk for getting breast cancer. Because breast MRIs may appear abnormal even when there is no cancer, they are not used for women at average risk.

Clinical breast exam

An examination by a doctor or nurse, who uses his or her hands to feel for lumps or other changes.

Breast self-awareness

Being familiar with how your breasts look and feel can help you notice symptoms such as lumps, pain, or changes in size that may be of concern. These could include changes found during a breast self-exam. You should report any changes that you notice to your doctor or healthcare provider.

Having a clinical breast exam or doing a breast self-exam has not been found to lower the risk of dying from breast cancer.


Every screening test has benefits and risks, which is why it is important to talk to your doctor before getting any screening test. The benefit of screening is finding cancer early when it is easier to treat.

Source: CDC