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Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Diagnostic Tools and Tests

The following tests and imaging studies may be ordered if your doctor believes you may have IDC:

Digital Mammogram Including 3D Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT)

Digital breast tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography, is a technique using X-rays to produce a three dimensional picture of the breast. The result or output is a series of image "slices" through the breast that can be viewed as individual pictures.

This often clarifies whether a finding is a true abnormality or an overlap of normal structures, and can result in the visualization of abnormalities that would be hard or impossible to see, otherwise.

Breast MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans present detailed images of the breast and help Penn cancer specialists accurately diagnose and locate breast tumors.

(MRI) scans of the breast use radio waves and strong magnets. During the scan, the energy from the radio waves is absorbed and then released in a pattern formed by the type of body tissue and by certain diseases. A computer translates the pattern into a very detailed image of the breast.

Breast Ultrasound

Ultrasound uses sound waves, not radiation, to examine the breast.

However, this test can be ordered by your doctor if there is a question about a mass or other finding on the mammogram or MRI that needs to be further evaluated.

Diagnostic Surgery or Biopsy

A biopsy is a diagnostic procedure in which a tiny bit of the breast tumor is removed and examined under a microscope.

There are several different types of biopsies.

Stereotactic core biopsy removes tissue using a hollow tube. A needle is passed through the hollow tube into the area being examined. The physician uses the needle to remove the tissue sample. Mammographic images are used to guide the physician to the appropriate area.

Open biopsy is a surgical procedure performed in a hospital operating room. The surgeon makes a cut into the affected area and the tissue is removed. Usually a wire is placed into the breast prior to surgery to help the surgeon locate the appropriate area to biopsy.