Investigating breast changes

The tests used to investigate breast changes in men are the same as those used for women. It is recommended that doctors use the approach called the 'triple test' to find the cause of a breast change. However not all men will need all of these tests.

The triple test includes:

  • clinical breast examination and/taking a history
  • imaging tests i.e. mammography and/or ultrasound
  • non-surgical biopsy i.e. a fine needle aspiration and/or core biopsy.

A clinical breast examination, involves checking both breasts and feeling the lymph nodes under the armpits.

Imaging tests involve an X-ray of the breast, called a mammogram, or a scan that uses sound waves to produce an image of the breast, called an ultrasound.

If you have a lump or lumpiness, or if the imaging test shows an abnormal area, you may have a biopsy. This involves taking a sample of cells or tissue from the breast and examining them under a microscope. This can be done using one of three techniques: fine needle aspiration, a core biopsy or less commonly a surgical biopsy.