A woman gives herself a breast exam in the mirror

Community Shares: The Test that Detected My Breast Cancer

Everyone who is dealing with advanced breast cancer has their own experience, from the moment of detection to choosing the right course of treatment.

Before or during diagnosis, there are several tests that may be used in evaluating potential breast cancer. To hear more about which tests are most commonly used, we reached out on the AdvancedBreastCancer.net Facebook page, asking you to tell us which test detected your breast cancer. Almost 50 of you opened up and responded.

Here’s what you had to say.

Breast self exam

Breast self-exam (BSE) is a technique that women can perform on themselves to become aware of what is normal for their breast tissue and notice if any changes occur. While BSE is no longer recommended as a screening tool for breast cancer, it is important for women to be familiar with what is normal for their breasts and alert their doctor if any changes are found.

“My hand! Lol. I knew, and a mammogram just confirmed it, and a biopsy diagnosed what kind.”

“Self-test, then mammogram and then a biopsy.”

“My partner.”


Mammograms are one of the most common screening tools. Most guidelines suggest women aged 40 and over should start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms. For many in this community, this was the test that first alerted you that something was wrong.


“A 3D mammogram.”

“A 3D mammogram, then a biopsy to confirm it.”


A biopsy is a procedure in which a sample of tissue is removed from the breast to examine it for cancerous (malignant) cells under a microscope. A fine-needle aspiration biopsy or FNAB is especially efficient in cases where the lump can be physically detected; whereas, if the lump cannot be felt, an ultrasound may be a better diagnostic test.

Typically, a biopsy isn’t recommended unless a patient has a mammogram or other test results that cause concern. It can be conclusive on its own, or, because the needle is so small, your doctor may choose to conduct another test to confirm the results.

“Biopsy. I discovered my first lump. A scan discovered my bone cancer and a mammogram discovered my second breast cancer.”

“Biopsy, discovered the lump myself the first time. The mammogram didn’t show anything so he had to do a biopsy.”

Multiple tests lead to my diagnosis

So many of you listed a handful of tests that you’ve endured. We imagine this can be extremely difficult to go through. As always, we appreciate you sharing your experiences with us and others in our community. Thank you.

“All of the above, then a pet scan after surgery to make sure cancer didn’t spread.”

“Mammogram, biopsy, MRI, CT scan, PET scan.”

What test detected your breast cancer? Take our poll or share with us in the comments.

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