This section discusses standard breast cancer screening tests.
Screening tests are used to find breast cancer before it causes any warning signs or symptoms. Screening tests can find breast cancer early, when the chances of survival are highest.
Regular screening tests (along with follow-up tests and treatment if diagnosed) reduce your chance of dying from breast cancer.
Breast cancer screening tests include clinical breast exam and mammography. For some women at higher risk of breast cancer, breast MRI may also be used.
Learn more about clinical breast exam.
Learn more about mammography.
Learn more about breast MRI.
Breast cancer screening is important for all women.
If you are at higher risk of breast cancer, you may need to be screened earlier and more often than women at average risk.
Breast cancer screening is only recommended for some men at high risk due to an inherited gene mutation or a strong family history of breast cancer.
Learn about breast cancer screening recommendations for women at average risk.
Learn about breast cancer screening recommendations for women at higher risk.
Learn about breast cancer screening recommendations for men at higher risk.
Follow-up after an abnormal finding on a screening test may include a diagnostic mammogram, a breast MRI and/or a breast ultrasound.
If screening finds something abnormal, it’s important to get follow-up without delay. If breast cancer is found, it’s best to be diagnosed and treated at the earliest possible stage.
Learn about follow-up after an abnormal finding on a clinical breast exam.
Learn about follow-up after an abnormal finding on a mammogram.
To learn how breast cancer is diagnosed, visit the Diagnosis section.
The warning signs of breast cancer are not the same for all women.
The most common symptoms are a change in the look or feel of the breast, a change in the look or feel of the nipple and nipple discharge.
Learn more about the warning signs of breast cancer.
If you feel a lump in your breast, try not to panic or worry. Most lumps are not breast cancer, but something less serious, such as a benign (not cancer) breast condition.
However, if you find a lump (or any change in your breast or underarm area), it's best to see a doctor to be sure it's not breast cancer.
Learn more about what to do if you find a lump.
Most insurance companies cover the cost of mammograms. Low-cost and free mammograms are also offered through national and community programs.
Learn more about low-cost or free mammograms.
2016 Research Fast Facts
Facts for Life: Breast Cancer Screening and Follow-up Tests