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 Breast Cancer
Detection of Abnormality During Nursing  

What happens if a woman detects an abnormality while she is nursing?

If a suspicious lump or abnormality is found when a woman is breast-feeding, diagnostic mammography and/or other breast imaging exams will be performed. Mammography in a lactating woman is considered safe and can be accurate if performed properly.

Most healthcare professionals suggest that the breast should be completely emptied of milk immediately before the mammogram, either via nursing or a breast pump. Emptying the breast of milk decreases the density through which the x-rays must penetrate and helps improve image quality.

Because lactating breasts tend to be denser, mammogramy is not as effective. Although 10% to 15% of masses can be missed with a mammogram in a non-lactating breast, this percentage can be as high as 25% in lactating breasts. For this reason, biopsy is often necessary to determine whether the abnormality is cancerous or benign.

Fine needle aspiration (FNA) involves using a thin needle to sample fluid or cells from the breast. FNA often is used to identify or drain cysts (collections of fluid). Core needle biopsy or open surgical biopsy also can be performed safely, but is usually reserved for cases in which FNA cannot be used to make a diagnosis.

The vast majority of breast abnormalities discovered during lactation are inflammatory or infectious complications, not breast cancer. Nasopharyngeal organisms (such as a cold virus) from the infantís mouth, sinuses, and other air passages can be a common source of infection in breast-feeding women.

Related Questions of Detection of Abnormality During Nursing
What is a mammogram?
Do mammograms prevent breast cancer?
I have had a mastectomy, but the cancer has been in remission for 2 years. Should I get a mammogram on the other breast?
Who should get a mammogram? When? How often?
If mammograms are so good at detecting nonsymptomatic tumors, why should I bother with a monthly breast exam ?
I have breast implants. How can I get properly screened?
Are there different types of mammograms?
What is a digital mammogram ? Is it better than a film mammogram ?
Are mammograms safe ?
How is a mammogram performed?
How can I get ready for my mammogram ?
Are there any problems with mammogramy?
Are mammograms painful?
Where should I get a mammogram?
What if my health insurance does not cover mammograms?
I don't have health insurance. Where can I get a free or low-cost mammogram?
How often should I get a mammogram?
How long until you get the results of your mammogram?
What is an ultrasound, and when is it recommended?
Why are mammograms not recommended for women under 30?
Does the radiation from a mammogram cause cancer?
How accurate are mammograms?
Are mammograms less accurate if you are significantly overweight?
What is "implantation displacement view"?
I have heard of the Eklund Technique for women with breast implants. What is the Eklund Technique exactly?
I've heard that mammograms can cause implants to burst. Is this true?
Are MRIs better than mammograms for screening young women with a high breast cancer risk?
Should I get a mammogram if I am pregnant?

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