Breast Cancer Diagnosis
If you have breast health concerns or you’ve received a breast cancer diagnosis, you may have questions that an examination at the Overlake Cancer Center can help answer. Our accurate and precise diagnosis will give you the information you need to make the best treatment decisions. With advanced techniques and technologies, the Overlake Cancer Center can determine your type of cancer, pinpoint its exact location and tell you whether it’s early or advanced.
Your evaluation may include:
- A physical examination of your breasts and the lymph nodes in your armpits.
- A screening and/or diagnostic mammogram to show the lump or abnormality.
- An ultrasound exam that can determine if a lump is a solid mass or a fluid-filled cyst.
- Magnetic resonance imagining (MRI) to create pictures of the breast’s interiors.
A biopsy will be done to make a definitive diagnosis of cancer. During a biopsy, a core sample is extracted from the suspicious area. This sample is examined to determine whether or not cancer is present, the type of cells involved, the cancer’s aggressiveness, and whether the cells have hormone or other receptors that may influence treatment options.
Overlake’s patient navigators are available to guide you through all procedures. Along with your physician, they are ready to answer any questions you may have.
How Breast Cancer Is Staged
Once breast cancer has been definitively diagnosed, your doctor will determine to what stage it has progressed and outline the best treatment options.
Tests and procedures at this point may include:
- Blood tests, such as a complete blood count.
- Mammogram of the other breast to look for signs of cancer.
- Breast MRI.
- Bone scan.
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan.
Your doctor will choose the appropriate tests based on your specific circumstances, taking into account any new symptoms you may be experiencing.
Breast cancer stages include “0” and “IV,” with “0” indicating cancer that is noninvasive or contained within the milk ducts. Stage IV, also called metastatic breast cancer, indicates cancer that has spread to other areas of the body.
The Overlake Cancer Center provides breast screening services at its Breast Health Center in Bellevue and in Issaquah using digital mammography. This includes 3D tomography, which is the most advanced technology available and allows for earlier, less invasive treatment and better outcomes.
Benefits of digital mammography include:
- Shorter exam times.
- A better visualization of dense breast tissue to identify small cancers.
- Fewer repeat images.
- Intelligent computer-aided detection.
To schedule a mammogram at either location, call (425) 688-5985.
Treatment Following Your Diagnosis
Care at the Overlake Cancer Center is provided by a multidisciplinary team that includes oncologists, surgeons and radiation oncologists, as well as specially trained nurses, dieticians, physical therapists, social workers and anyone else needed to ensure that you have the best possible treatment plan. In addition, our affiliation with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance ensures you have access to clinical trials that are paving the way for the future of cancer care. Our support groups can introduce you to other patients who have been through treatment or are continuing to cope with cancer.
We encourage you to connect with us right away. Remember, if treated early, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer is now 90%.
Call the Overlake Cancer Center at (425) 635-3400 and learn how you can take charge of your care with the support of the Overlake team.