A nipple aspirate test—sometimes referred to as a Pap test for the breast—is not a substitute for mammography, the Food and Drug Admininstration (FDA) recently warned. The test examines cells in “aspirate” fluid collected from the breast for abnormalities that may indicate increased breast cancer risk.
But there is no evidence that it is an effective stand-alone screening test.In fact, it is highly debatable whether it should be used at all.
For one, many women are unable to produce breast fluid; moreover, it’s far from clear what a woman should do if atypical cells are found, since this does not mean she has breast cancer or will ever develop it.
Last year, the ForeCyte Breast Health Test was voluntarily withdrawn from the market after the FDA accused the manufacturer of making false and misleading claims. There is also inadequate evidence that the Halo Breast Pap Test improves the diagnosis of breast cancer beyond other tests.