The Triple Test

If anyone presents with unusual breast symptoms, a doctor should undertake the Triple Test. You have the right to request this. The Triple Test includes:

(1) A clinical breast examination and taking a personal history .
This involves a thorough physical examination of the whole breast area, including both breasts, nipples, armpits and up to the collarbone. The doctor will also ask about the woman’s personal and family history of breast cancer and whether she has any symptoms.

(2) A doctor’s referral for imaging tests (mammogram, ultrasound and/or MRI).
Imaging tests for breast cancer may involve:
• A mammogram: a way of examining the breasts using low-dose X-rays
• An ultrasound: a way of examining the breasts and/or armpit area using high-frequency sound waves
• A MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): a way of examining the breasts, armpit or chest using magnetic fields.
The tests used will depend on the woman’s age and breast density. Typically, a mammogram is used first for women aged 40 years or older and an ultrasound is used first for women younger than 35 years. For women aged 35-49, either test may be used first. MRI may be used for young women, particularly if they have a strong family history of breast cancer.

(3) A biopsy to remove cells or tissue for examination.
If the clinical examination or imaging tests show an abnormal area, a woman will have a biopsy which involves taking a small sample of cells or tissue from the area. This is then examined for signs of cancer.More about biopsies

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