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Table 2 A synopsis of the established approaches for the detection of breast cancer

From: Evaluation of nipple aspirate fluid as a diagnostic tool for early detection of breast cancer

Modality Indication Sensitivity (%) Specificity (%) Advantages Disadvantages References
Self-examination Tumour detection 53.90 54–59 A free and easy way to look for cancer and reduce mortality Some breast lumps can be missed, cause unnecessary distress [21]
Mammography Tumour detection 73–86 88–93 Inexpensive, highly portable and does not necessarily require a contrast agent Discomfort, limited depth penetration, challenging spatial localization, and radiation exposure, False positive and false negative results [29]
Ultrasound, especially with contrast enhancement Detection tumour characterization 61.40 82 Highly portable, inexpensive molecular microbubble agents possible Operator dependence contrast agents confined to vascular system [41]
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) Tumour characterization 77–99 81–99 Quantification of tumour perfusion and tumour capillary permeability Confined space, contrast design limited by need for magnetic atom [42]
Positron emission tomography Detection response evaluation characterization 64–96 73–99 Wide range of molecular imaging probes Tracer imaging without perturbing biologic system Limited spatial resolution (improved with use of non-contrast computed tomography), some radiation exposure [43]
Histopathology Detection, tumour characterization 90 88 Differentiating benign and malignant Discomfort and painful because a surgical procedures required, risk of complications such as infection and bleeding. Can result in over-diagnosis and overtreatment [35]