New Breast Cancer Test May Pick Up Early Changes Without X-Rays or Needles.

Dr. Bruce Hensel reports on a possible breakthrough in the fight against breast cancer, in the form of a test that may pick up early changes without X-rays or needles.


“ Mammograms are still the best test for breast cancer; but they may miss some. This test looks painlessly at breast fluid. It could prove life saving,” Dr. Bruce Hensel reported.


As a mother, Tracy Givant knows it's very important for her to stay healthy for her kids. 

Recently, though, she started to worry. 


“I have a good friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer. and then about 3 months my step sister was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Givant said.


So when she heard about a new non-invasive test that would detect her risk of developing breast cancer.  She decided to take it.


“Very simple, convenient, not a lot of time, no invasive.  Easy,”  Givant said.


It's called the Halo Pap Test.   It detects cellular changes in the breast at the earliest stages.


“Breast cancer start in the lining of the ducts.  The cell becomes more irregular in shape, the nucleus becomes larger, they develop characteristics that look like they're heading toward malignancy.”  Dr. John West from the Breast Care and Imaging Center of Orange County said.


The test works by extracting liquid from the breasts.  Adjustable cups apply suction to bring fluid to the surface.   The procedure takes about 5 minutes.


“In about half of the cases no fluid comes out and that's associated with a low risk situation, and that in itself is reassuring.  when fluid comes out it's looked at under the microscope.”  Dr. West said.


In a few cases doctors see cells that are abnormal.  And that means that the woman is at increased risk for breast cancer in the future.


That's what happened with Tracy.   She went to a specialist and did an MRI, which turned up papillomas in her right breast.    She underwent surgery to remove them, and they were benign. 


“ For me it's been a gift. I have high risk of cancer, so i need to be monitored and thanks goodness i found out,” Givant said.  “if signs of cancer show up it'll be so early in the process that it won't be as significant as if i'd waited.” 


“For some women the test could mean simply peace of mind. For others; especially the potentially deadly form of intra-ductal cancer, this could find the cancer at its earliest most curable stage,”  Dr. Hensel said.


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