Dr. Harness shares how breast cancer is diagnosed.
Dr. Harness, M.D.:
Well, there are two ways that breast cancer is diagnosed. One is in the asymptomatic patient. By that, I mean patients who don’t have any symptoms at all, an abnormality is found on the screening mammogram such as abnormal microcalcifications or even a small mass in the breast that the patient can’t feel.
So one category, and that’s the one we’d love to see more of is if someone is going to have breast cancer, what you want to do is to diagnose it before there are any symptoms.
So the one category is the asymptomatic patient, and the second category of course is somebody that has had symptoms. The most common symptom is a lump in the breast.
The techniques for diagnosing breast cancer are always mammograms, often followed then by ultrasound examination, and I want to really make a strong plea that if someone has an abnormal ultrasound or an abnormal mammogram that the diagnosis be made by a needle biopsy directed either by x-ray or by ultrasound and to not have an open excisional biopsy because greater than 95 percent of abnormalities of the breast can be diagnosed with needle biopsies.
About Dr. Harness, M.D.:
Dr. Jay Harness, M.D., is the Director at St. Joseph Hospital Comprehensive Breast Center. Practicing medicine for 35 years, Dr. Harness specializes in general surgery and medical oncology. Graduating medical school from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, he conducting his internship and residency at the University of Michigan Medical Center. Recognized nationally and internationally for his work in breast and endocrine surgery, Dr. Harness is the immediate past-President of The American Society of Breast Surgeons and is President-elect of Breast Surgery International. Dr. Harness can assist patients in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.