Dedicated to the care of breast cancer and all breast conditions
Dr Sarah Rayne is no longer practising in
Johannesburg and this practice is closed.

These pages are for information only,
and current only until 2018
I’ve just been diagnosed with breast cancer- help!
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I’ve noticed a lump in my breast
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I have breast pain               
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I need advice about breastfeeding
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MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)  
MRI uses the effect of magnetic fields on your body’s water to generate a picture. It doesn’t just show the structure of the breast, but how it is behaving, including the behaviour of any lumps or abnormalities. It is not a comfortable test to go through, and it can be expensive, so normally it is used when additional information is needed after mammogram or ultrasound. It is also a great test for young women at very high risk of cancer.
Other (less common) options
Tomosynthesis is a new 3D way of looking at the breast that can be used in conjunction with a mammogram at present. Because it takes more pictures in addition to a mammogram, there is a slightly higher dose of radiation but with that comes a closer look at the breast tissue, and still within recommended guidelines.

PET scan (Positron Emission Tomography) is a method of picking up unusually hardworking metabolically-active tissue within the body by giving a tracer injection and then taking pictures of the whole body. It is good for picking up when cancer has spread around the body, and monitoring the response to whole body treatments.

Thermography uses heat-signals rather than radiation to look at the breast and is based on the principle that cancerous tissue will produce more heat. Unfortunately not all cancers do, and non-cancerous problems can also produce heat. At present there is no safe evidence to show it can do the same job as mammography or that it is safe to replace mammography. Therefore it is not recommended as a stand-alone investigation for breast problems.

There are many other methods of breast investigation that are available, often recommended by people who do not believe in science or marketed to people who would like to avoid radiation. Unfortunately none of them been proven to find (or rule-out) cancer accurately. Some tests can cost far far more than the simple tests outlined above, and leave you with a false sense of reassurance or unnecessary concern.