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A new, simpler technique for detecting abnormal breast cells before they develop into life-threatening breast cancer is in the pipeline. Called ductal lavage, the procedure involves a doctor inserting a catheter the width of two human hairs into the nipple and washing out enough cells from milk-producing ducts to screen for precancerous changes. Scientists have known for years that milk ducts are a great place to test for these scary cells, Unfortunately, insurers don't always pay for the test, which can cost from $350 to $700.