Triple diagnosis

1. Triple diagnosis refers to the concurrent use of physical examination, mammography, and FNAB for diagnosing palpable breast lumps. Very few breast cancers are missed using triple diagnosis. Only 0.7 percent of women had breast cancer when all three tests suggested benign lesions, while 99.4 percent of women in whom all three tests were positive have breast cancer.

2. The following scenarios occur with the triple diagnosis approach:

a. Women in whom all three tests suggest benign disease are followed with physical examination every three to six months for one year to make sure the mass is stable or regresses.

b. Women in whom all three tests suggest malignancy are referred for definitive therapy.

c. Women with any one of the tests suggesting malignancy should undergo excisional biopsy.

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