Navigating the Journey: A Comprehensive Guide to Breast Cancer
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How to interpret screening results?

Interpreting screening results and follow-up procedures for breast cancer in Singapore involve several steps to ensure accurate diagnosis and appropriate management. Here’s a general overview of the process:

If screening results are…

Normal. If the screening results are normal, it indicates no significant abnormalities were detected during the screening. Regular screening is still recommended based on the recommended intervals and guidelines.

Abnormal. If the screening results show abnormalities or suspicious findings, further evaluation is necessary.

Diagnostic Assessment:

Additional Imaging. Additional imaging tests such as diagnostic mammography, breast ultrasound, or breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be performed to obtain more detailed information about the detected abnormalities.

Tissue Sampling. If necessary, a tissue sample (biopsy) may be taken to analyze the abnormal area further. This helps in determining whether the findings are benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Diagnosis and Staging:

Pathology Evaluation. The tissue sample obtained from a biopsy is sent to a pathologist who examines it under a microscope. This helps in confirming the diagnosis of breast cancer and determining its characteristics.

Staging. Once breast cancer is confirmed, further tests such as imaging scans (e.g., chest X-ray, bone scan, or computed tomography) may be conducted to determine the extent or stage of the cancer.

Treatment Planning:

Multidisciplinary Team. A multidisciplinary team, including oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, and other specialists, reviews the diagnostic results and collaboratively develops an individualized treatment plan.

Treatment Options. The treatment plan may include surgery (e.g., lumpectomy or mastectomy), radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy, or a combination of these, depending on the stage and characteristics of the breast cancer.

Follow-up and Surveillance:

Regular Monitoring. After completing the initial treatment, regular follow-up appointments are scheduled to monitor the individual’s progress and detect any potential recurrence or new developments.

Surveillance Imaging. Surveillance imaging, such as mammograms and other scans, may be performed at specific intervals to monitor the breast and check for any signs of recurrence or new cancer.

The specific interpretation of screening results and subsequent follow-up procedures may vary based on individual circumstances and the recommendations of healthcare professionals involved in the care. It is advisable to consult with a healthcare provider or specialist in breast cancer to receive personalized guidance and to ensure appropriate interpretation and management based on the specific case.