Diagnosing Noncancerous (Benign) Breast Conditions
How are benign breast conditions and infections diagnosed?
To diagnose a breast condition, your healthcare provider will take your complete health
history. Your provider may also:
Do a complete physical exam to:
Locate any lump and feel its features, such as texture, size, and relationship to
the skin and chest muscles
Look for changes in the nipples or the skin of the breast
Check lymph nodes under the arm and above the collarbones
Request imaging tests, including:
Request a lab microscopic exam of nipple discharge if there is nipple discharge other
Request a ductogram X-ray or MRI ductogram of the nipples if there is nipple discharge
other than breastmilk
Consider a hormonal evaluation if the nipple discharge is milky
Request a biopsy of tissue removed from the suspicious area
What are the different types of biopsy?
Image-guided biopsies. Those aided by ultrasound or other imaging techniques, including:
Fine needle aspiration. A very fine or thin needle is guided into the suspicious area.
A small sample of the tissue is removed.
Core needle biopsy. A larger needle is guided into the lump to remove a small core
(cylinder) of tissue.
Surgical biopsy. A surgical procedure is used to remove all or part of a lump.