The first step in treatment consists of a wide-range of additional medical examinations which will allow a precise diagnosis.

Medical examination

This is a consultation with a gynaecologist, who evaluates the patient's medical records and family history, as well as current symptoms. During this consultation, the gynaecologist also carries out a breast examination, to gather information about any lump (including the size, location, mobility, appearance of the skin), and a palpation of the lymph nodes.

Radiological examinations


This is an x-ray of the breasts. The Geneva Breast Centre has the latest equipment in this field.

Mammograms are offered as part of scheduled screening to patients aged between 50 and 74 years of age every 2 years. Most women who are monitored by a gynaecologist have individual screening before the age of 50, and after the age of 74. This screening is adapted to suit the personal risk faced by each patient. Patients for whom a genetic risk has been identified receive special monitoring. A mammogram may also be indicated for diagnosis if an anomaly is discovered by the patient or their doctor (a lump, nipple discharge, pain, redness of the skin, etc.)


An ultrasound examination is also known as an echography. No radiation is used in this process. This painless examination is carried out using a probe. An additional ultrasound is often performed after a mammogram. This examination can also be used to conduct a biopsy (taking a sample).

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

This radiological examination produces 2D or 3D images without using radiation.

A breast MRI is a second-line test that is carried out when mammogram and ultrasound images are not sufficient for interpretation. MRI scans are also almost always ordered before a surgical treatment.

Needle biopsy

This examination involves removing and analysing a small amount of tissue from the suspect area to diagnose and determine the nature of the lesion. It can determine whether or not a cancer is present. All biopsies are carried out under local anaesthetic.