Staying Healthy with the HALO Breast Pap Test
Find out about your risk of developing breast cancer risk by with the HALO Breast Pap Test.
The test, which is quick and relatively painless, uses a breast pump-type device to stimulate the milk ducts and collect nipple aspirate fluid for analysis. While the test does not diagnose breast cancer and should not replace regular mammograms or breast self-exams, it does help women 25 years of age or older determine their risk for developing breast cancer.
If no fluid is collected during the test, that is considered a “normal” result, meaning you are not considered to be at an elevated risk of developing breast cancer. You should continue to approach your daily life and gynecologic healthcare as you normally would.
If fluid is collected, it will be sent to a medical lab for analysis, and the results will be returned to our office in approximately one week. At that point, one of two scenarios will follow:
- The first possible situation is that your nipple aspirate fluid contains normal cells and you are not at an elevated risk for developing breast cancer.
- The second possibility is that your fluid contains abnormal cells. This, of course, is more concerning, as it means your risk of developing breast cancer is four to five times greater than normal.
If your test uncovers anything other than a normal risk factor, we will educate you about the steps you need to take to manage your increased risk. Heightened surveillance is imperative including keeping up with, and even increasing the frequency of your regular breast screenings and mammograms. This way, if any cancerous cells do develop, they will be detected at the earliest possible stage. In addition, we will confirm that you know how to properly perform breast self-exams, and encourage you to do them regularly. Additionally, it is important for you to make healthy lifestyle choices with regard to diet and physical fitness. Doing so should help improve your overall health, including breast health. And if your risk is especially high, we may recommend additional testing such as breast ultrasound or diagnostic mammogram, or refer you to a breast specialist to discuss certain drugs or surgical procedures that could help reduce your risk even further.