Breast Cancer Diagnosis

What are the risk factors of developing breast cancer?

Although men are also at risk, many of the risk factors align with a female’s medical history and habits. Below are some of the major risk factors for developing breast cancer.

  • Caucasian
  • Personal history of benign, or non-cancerous breast disease (ADH, ALH, and LCIS)
  • A family history of breast cancer
  • Menstruation at an early age
  • Treatment to the breast or chest region using radiation therapy
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Being pregnant later in life
  • Number of pregnancies
  • Obesity
  • Exogenous hormone use
  • High-fat diet
  • Inactivity

Factors such as antiperspirants, bras, induced abortion, and breast implants have not been found to increase a women’s risk.

We can also assess your risk of developing breast cancer and what to do if you are found to have an elevated risk of breast cancer. This is accomplished by different breast cancer risk calculators. This may include genetic testing, advanced imaging, or even prophylactic surgery in selected cases.

Diagnosing Breast Cancer

The professional, compassionate staff at Crighton Olive Dunn Surgical Group will use mammograms during your cancer screening to identify any lumps in the breast.


If you are between the ages of 20–39:
  • Have a breast exam every three years during your annual checkup appointment
  • Physicians recommend a monthly breast self-exam. Discuss any changes in your breast with your physician immediately.
If you are 40 years old or older:
  • Schedule an annual mammogram and ask your physician for a breast exam during your yearly checkup
  • Physicians recommend a monthly breast self-exam. Discuss any changes in your breast with your physician immediately.

Breast Imaging

Mammograms are used in screening. Mammograms can detect small masses or calcifications (calcium deposits) which may not be palpable. If an abnormality is detected then further testing will be conducted.

Breast ultrasound is used to examine the structure of the mass. Ultrasonic waves create echoes that bounce through the tissue to produce an image of the mass. This can differentiate between different types of masses. A breast cyst can be aspirated, where a mass may prompt a biopsy.

A breast MRI may be ordered to further evaluate a breast cancer. It can also be used in patient with an elevated risk of breast malignancy.


“I’m so glad the doctor in West Plains couldn’t get me in, I just love everyone in this office.”

—Charlotte | Mtn. Grove

“This place always makes me smile – everyone is so compassionate. Being recently diagnosed with breast cancer the staff were so helpful.”

—Anne | Alton