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Diagnosis

 
Diagnosis

Chapter: 4 - Diagnosis

Subchapter: 4 - Biopsy

A biopsy is a diagnostic procedure in which cells are removed from a suspicious area to check for the presence of breast cancer. There are three types of biopsy: fine needle aspiration, core needle biopsy, and surgical biopsy.

Let’s discuss the different types in greater detail.

Fine Needle Aspiration
(FNA)/Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy (FNABx)

If the lump is easily accessible, or if the doctor suspects that it may be a fluid-filled cystic lump, the doctor may choose to conduct a fine needle aspiration (FNA). During this procedure, the lump should collapse once the fluid inside has been drawn and discarded. Sometimes, an ultrasound is used to help your doctor guide the needle to the exact site. If the lump persists, the radiologist or surgeon will perform a fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNABx), a similar procedure using the needle to obtain cells from the lump for examination.

Core Needle Biopsy
Core needle biopsy is the procedure to remove a small amount of tissue from the breasts with a larger “core” needle. Similar to fine needle aspiration, an ultrasound might be used to help your doctor guide the needle to the exact site. Once removed, the suspicious area tissue will be examined for traces of cancer.

Surgical Biopsy
(also known as wide local excision)
During a surgical (or wide local excision) biopsy, the doctor will remove all or part of the lump from the breast as well as a small amount of normal-looking tissue. This procedure is often performed in a hospital with the patient under local anesthesia. If the lump cannot be easily felt, an ultrasound might be used to help guide your doctor to the suspicious area. Once removed, the abnormal tissue will be examined for traces of cancer. The surrounding margin, or small amount of normal–looking tissue, will be examined to determine if the cancer has been completely removed.

Many times after core and surgical biopsies, a marker is placed internally at the biopsy site. This is done so that if further surgery is required, the surgeon can more easily locate the abnormal area.

Related Questions

  • Kim Curry Profile

    What types of mastectomy surgery have reconstruction done at same time?

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    almost 7 years 1 answer
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Hi Kim I think it all depends on the type if breast cancer, treatment needed and your surgeon from my own experience I had reconstruction at the same time of my mastectomies I had DCIS bilateral mastectomies were my treatment of choice. Having the bilateral mastectomies I did not need radiation...

      more

      Hi Kim I think it all depends on the type if breast cancer, treatment needed and your surgeon from my own experience I had reconstruction at the same time of my mastectomies I had DCIS bilateral mastectomies were my treatment of choice. Having the bilateral mastectomies I did not need radiation or chemo If you are considering reconstruction find a plastic surgeon that either specializes in breast reconstruction or will work along with your general surgeon to do the reconstruction. Some surgeons do not want to do the surgery at the same time as reimbursement will also be shared so they prefer to do the procedures separately for better reimbursement

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Does any one have experience with dcis and breast implants? How does this affect surgery and treatment? My tumor is on pectoral muscle so they need to take part of the muscle. How did radiation affect implants? Any advice?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Donna Gray Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I had DCIS cancer. Noninvasive . I had a bilateral mastectomy with saline implants. No chemo or radiation. The mastectomy was the only treatment I had. Have they already told you you have to have radiation?

      Comment
    • Donna Gray Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I have heard you have reconstruction after radiation. Radiation makes your skin pretty thin so that may affect reconstruction.

      Comment
  • Linda Green Profile

    Is it unusual to have a variance in tumor measurement between ultrasound and MRI? Picked up MRI report this afternoon and noticed they measured tumor as 1.8 cm vice 1.2 cm. Of course, first thought was oh crap, did it grow that much in two weeks?

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    almost 7 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      The MRI can pick up much more detail. Some malignant tumors aren't evenly shaped and maybe that would be where the discrepancy is showing up. Never be afraid to call the office that did the MRI and ask to speak to a doctor. It's their job to know the answers to those types of questions.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      It is also because of the way that you are positioned in the MRI machine. If you were lying on your stomach for the MRI with your breasts hanging down through the MRI table it is going to change the shape of your breast therefore making the measurements different then when you were lying on your...

      more

      It is also because of the way that you are positioned in the MRI machine. If you were lying on your stomach for the MRI with your breasts hanging down through the MRI table it is going to change the shape of your breast therefore making the measurements different then when you were lying on your back for the ultrasound.

      Comment
  • Casey Chernes Profile

    Has anyone gotten infection after surgeries, or had a very slow recovery due to infection, or know of anyone that has?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 3 answers
    • Nancy Kirk Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Yes I got an infection and had to have several additional surgeries one removing the expander and a week of IV antibiotics in the hospital -

      Comment
    • Sally Zosky Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I developed staph after a double mastectomy with reconstruction and had to have the implants removed and additional tissue as well. The second surgery was on 9/13/11 and I am still packing one side (drains stopped working, both sides) and still have the sutures in both. Hopefully those come out...

      more

      I developed staph after a double mastectomy with reconstruction and had to have the implants removed and additional tissue as well. The second surgery was on 9/13/11 and I am still packing one side (drains stopped working, both sides) and still have the sutures in both. Hopefully those come out tuesda

      Comment

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