Breast cancer is usually detected on a physical examination by the patient or in a screening by the doctor. Then subsequently various tests and examinations are performed on the body to assess the abnormality. These tests are performed by the doctor on the patient based on various parameters like: the medical condition and status of the patient, age of the patient, type of cancer suspected, previous test/ screening findings, how severe the symptoms are.
The medical tests and examinations done on the patient can be categorized in to three types: Screening tests, diagnostic tests and monitoring tests.
Screening tests would be those tests which are performed routinely. The primary purpose is to examine a healthy individual for onset of any cancer, early detection of the cancer for a good prognosis. These exams help in diagnosing early cancer with no symptoms.
The second levels of tests are diagnostic tests. As is clear from the name, these tests are done when a patient is suspected of cancer to detect the type of cancer, extent of cancer invasion, damage done and stage of cancer. These tests help in drafting the course of treatment.
The final categorization is the monitoring tests which are usually done once the treatment has commenced. These tests help in charting the medical progress of the patient, the effectiveness of the treatment and check for any symptoms or signs of recurrence of the disease.