NAF & ForeCYTE: Early Breast Cancer Detection Techniques

Prevention is better than cure any given day and nowhere does this seem more relevant than preventing some dangerous conditions like cancer. There are several checks and tests which can detect the onslaught of cancer in a timely manner and can vary depending on the type of cancer under consideration.

Breast Cancer Detection

Breast Cancer Detection

Today we will talk about a test which is supposed to detect breast cancer not only a few days, weeks or months but about a decade before it actually develops. This might sound bit unbelievable and too good to be true but as per a report by FoxNews, a product has been developed which is rightly named ForeCYTE, pronounced as foresight, and rightly so, since if it works as claimed it is certainly a good foresight to ladies who are prone to breast cancer.

How Does It Work?

The basic fundamental concept of the working of this concept is that an instrument shown in the adjacent figure is used to collect nipple aspirate fluid in a non-invasive manner and that is then sent for cytological testing in a certified laboratory. Hence the technical term for this test is Nipple Aspiration Fluid Cytology Test or NAF, or in simple words you could say that ForeCYTE is the trade name for NAF.

The pathologists at the lab test the fluid for any signs or symptoms of cancerous growth and if any such symptoms are found, treatment can be started much before it would have been detected by other means, thus highly increasing the survival chances of the subject.


  • It is an non-invasive biopsy test which means there is not surgery or anything but just the breast fluid is drawn using a modified breast pump.
  • There is no radiation involved, plus it is totally painless procedure, hence anyone and everyone can get the test done without fearing exposure to radiations or undergoing unnecessary pain
  • Some patients may not have any family history or other risk factors, so this test can help ensure that such people stay safe
  • The results of this test fall in 4 categories with type 4 being most severe result, meaning thereby that a biopsy is suggested to such patients.
  • In some cases mammography is less effective especially in women under 50 years of age having dense breasts, so this test can be useful in such cases.
  • Despite these advantages it must be remembered that it must be complemented with other preventive measures like adopting healthy lifestyle, self examination of breasts and so forth.
Duct Cells Extraction

Duct Cells Extraction

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The Technique

As per the proponents of ForeCYTE, the nipple fluid cytology test has been proven clinically through thorough tests that it certainly helps to detect the onslaught of cancer and the tests have been carried out on a wide age ground starting from as low as seventeen years to the higher end of 73 years. Hence although the more susceptible age group belongs to the age bracket of 45 to 60 years, women of lower age groups can easily benefit by taking this test so that their chances of detection are greatly increased.

Breast Ducts

Duct Diagram

For those interested in detailed medical perspective the ductal epithelial cells form the lining of the abot a dozen ducts that converge in the female nipple. Any pre-cancer lesions in these cells act as the strongest bio marker indicators of a possible breast cancer.

Research on NAF

Wrensch and Petrakis, et al, of the University of California have found in a prospective study that NAF is a good biomarker to establish the probability of cancer. Though it must also be added that at this, NAF test is more of a complementary test to the regular mammography rather than a stand alone test as per DrĀ  J. Herman. He particularly advices ladies who have a family history of breast cancer as well as females with dense breasts to undergo this procedure to be double sure

  • divyamittal-photo
  • DivyaMittal
  • A medico by profession M.D. (Pathology) having trained in lab techniques and apart from working at Dr Lalpath Labs, she likes to research, learn and write about various areas of knowledge. Associated with CFC, Metaphysics Knowledge and Abhishek Solutions as a Guest Contributor.