NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Stage 0 Breast Cancer - page 21

NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Stage 0 Breast Cancer, Version 1.2014
Diagnostic mammography
Mammography uses x-rays to make pictures of
the insides of the breast. These pictures are called
mammograms. Mammography that is used for
breast cancer screening often takes two pictures of
each breast. Diagnostic mammography takes more
pictures from different angles. A bilateral mammogram
means taking pictures of both breasts.
Mammography is recommended to look for abnormal
areas in either breast. It is also recommended to find
cancers early before they can be felt as a lump on
self-exam or CBE. Sometimes a breast ultrasound
may also be needed to decide if a breast biopsy
should be performed.
See Getting a mammography
on page 11 for more information.
Pathology review
If your mammogram is abnormal, it is very important
for your doctor to make a correct diagnosis. This
means finding out if you have diseased breast
tissues, and, if so, what type of breast disease you
have. To determine if you have breast cancer, a
sample of breast tissue needs to be removed from
your body and tested for cancer cells. This is called a
The tissue sample will be looked at by a pathologist.
A pathologist is a doctor who’s an expert in lab tests
of tissues and cells. The pathologist will find out if
you have DCIS, invasive breast cancer, or another
condition. If cancer is found, the pathologist will do
other tests on the tissue to learn more about the
cancer. If you have another stage of breast cancer
(I–IV), NCCN offers books for those stages.
All lab results are included in a pathology report
that gets sent to your doctors. Some women get
more than one pathology report. The first report may
include the test results of a breast biopsy. Other
pathology reports may include test results of breast
tissue removed during surgical treatment.
It’s a good idea to ask for a copy of your pathology
reports. Also ask your treatment team any questions
about the test results. These reports are used to plan
Hormone receptor test
Estrogen and progesterone are female hormones
that increase during puberty in girls causing their
breasts to grow. For some breast cancers, the cancer
cells have receptors to which these hormones attach
causing the cells to grow and divide. However, the
growth of cancer cells that have hormone receptors
is usually slower than cancer cells without these
Testing for hormone receptors is important
because there are drugs that can be used to
stop hormones from causing cancer growth. IHC
hemistry) is the lab test used to see
if cancer cells have hormone receptors. For this
test, the cancer cells removed during the biopsy will
be stained. The stain shows how many cells have
hormone receptors and the number of hormone
receptors in the cells. If at least 1 out of every 100
cancer cells stain positive, the cancer is called
hormone receptor–positive DCIS. If fewer cancer cells
stain positive for hormone receptors, the cancer is
called hormone receptor–negative DCIS.
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