Tests for breast cancer
It’s recommended that doctors use an approach known as the triple test to find the cause of a breast change. Many women with breast changes won’t need all of these tests.
The triple test
The triple test includes:
- taking a personal history and a clinical breast examination
- imaging tests (mammogram and/or ultrasound)
- a biopsy to remove cells or tissue for examination.
Most women show no signs of cancer on any of the tests. The small number of women who show possible signs of cancer on one or more of the tests may be advised to see a surgeon for further tests or treatment.
Tests if breast cancer has spread
Other tests, such as blood tests or chest X-rays will only be used if a woman has symptoms which suggest that breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
Waiting for test results
Waiting for test results can be a worrying time. It’s important for women to ask as many questions as they need to. Talking to a health professional about fears and concerns can be helpful.
Questions to ask about breast cancer tests
View a list of questions to ask about breast cancer tests.