"It was the best decision I ever made. My care here was the best I could have had, and I loved that…as much as you can love being treated for cancer, of course!"
— Mary Brookhart

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Making a Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Breast cancer is often first suspected when a lump is detected (either by the patient or their physician) or when an abnormal area is found on a mammogram. Most of the time, the suspicious areas are not cancerous or benign. But the only way to be certain is through follow-up tests such as a diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound imaging or possibly biopsy, which can provide additional information.

If an area appears to be suspicious by imaging, a breast biopsy will be performed. Cells or tissue removed from the abnormal area will be examined by a pathologist. The pathologist then sends a report containing his or her findings back to the physician who performed the biopsy.This report, known as the pathology report, contains information about the breast tissue's appearance, cellular makeup, and whether or not the cells are normal or abnormal. The pathology report is vital to the patient and her health care team – treatment decisions are made based on the information the report contains.

If your diagnosis proves to be breast cancer, your treatment will involve a multidisciplinary effort including the Winship Cancer Institute.