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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

  • Thumb avatar default

    I am going in for Oncoplasty next week. I am trying to find out if they can put the medi port in while I am in surgery. How long does it take to have the port put in?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    about 7 years 3 answers
    • Betty Castillo Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      My surgery was about 1.5 hrs. long. It was super easy.

      Comment
    • julie s Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      I had my port put in as an outpatient procedure... The actual placement took all of 20 minutes!

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I am going in for a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy. Could anyone please tell me about the pain involved and the experience of the whole procedure?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 7 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • P C Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 0 Patient

      Hi, I had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy on Sep 29, 2011. My surgery went great, wide clear margins and both nodes they removed were negative. About two weeks following that, I developed some seromas in my breast at the surgery site and at the area just below node removal. My surgeon...

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      Hi, I had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy on Sep 29, 2011. My surgery went great, wide clear margins and both nodes they removed were negative. About two weeks following that, I developed some seromas in my breast at the surgery site and at the area just below node removal. My surgeon drained the one below the node removal only one. He gave me pain medication to he me through that. About a month later, I had external pinpointed beam radiation for only 7 days, twice a day. It was not bad at all. I did have, and still do have what mu radiation oncologist calls zingers. They are very sharp pains, which have almost gone away. My seromas are completely gone. I have intermittent swelling on my right breast, which they say is normal. It also is less and less as time passes. Right now, I am taking Tamoxifen and Effexor. I am feeling so much better, but still not totally back to feeling as I did before my DCIS surgery, but I will get there. I had my 6 month mammogram and it was all good, only showed scar tissue from surgery and radiation. every so often, I have a bit of nausea, but I have found that if I drink ginger ale, it really helps. I have a prescription for Compazine, but have only had to use it twice. I had a little nausea and fainting incident a few months ago, but it all worked out. I fell pretty hard and had to have some metal stitches in my head, and a few days I the hospital to make sure it was nothing more Eros causing me to faint. All in all, it is goin good for me. My whole procedure was eventful, but not a bad thing. It is best to educate yourself on your contusion, mine was DCIS, stage 0 , clear margins, neg sentinel nodes, but positive estrogen and progesterone receptors. This is the reason for Tamoxifen. The Effexor was to counteract the hot flashes and it has really helped me feel better and speed up recovery. If you understand you care for your cancer plus a good support network, things, or me anyway, go muc smoother.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      We are unique individuals and can have a range of reactions to any procedure. I was on the "good" end of everything. I did not seem to have much discomfort with anything. My perception of discomfort to the sentinel node mapping was no more than pinching. The tech told me I would feel that......

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      We are unique individuals and can have a range of reactions to any procedure. I was on the "good" end of everything. I did not seem to have much discomfort with anything. My perception of discomfort to the sentinel node mapping was no more than pinching. The tech told me I would feel that... which I did but it was nothing significant to me. I had 5 sentinal nodes removed. I had a mastectomy, I took no pain medication afterwards. I was up and around within 3 days. We all seem to have a fear or fears of what is about to happen. My big fear was the anesthesia. Since I was so afraid of it, I "interviewed" anesthesiologists and got recommendations. I think I was just SO HAPPY to wake up, the rest of the post-op stuff was nothing. We all have different pain tolerance. Mine, is obviously, on the high side. I would never say to a woman "Oh, it's nothing" because it isn't. There are a lot of mental images that go through every woman's mind. There may be some unexpected post-op problems that come up which you can't be prepared for. The other thought that went through my mind as I was approaching the surgery.... this was something I had to so to save my life. I developed a positive let's-get-going attitude and marched right into it. Sometimes bravery comes from acting that way. I became brave by --pretending-- to be brave. I wish you the very best and hope you have as easy a time as I did. I had a young woman surgeon who specialised in breast surgery. I had utmost confidence in her and my young woman anesthesiologist. I was not disappointed. Blessings to you in your journey. Take care, Sharon

      3 comments
  • Sarah Hailes Profile

    I have burning pain on the side I had my lymphectomy. I am several months post op and three weeks post chemo. Is this normal? I just assumed it was and never asked. Now I'm wondering if I'm wrong.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    about 7 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Sarah,
      I agree with Norma, call your doctor to check this out.
      Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Scar tissue can be tight and burn. Nerves heal and find new paths. It is imperative to stretch and keep the muscles supple. I skipped a month and am having to stretch out again. If you're worried call the doctor.

      Comment
  • laura blevins Profile

    My pathology report showed "isolated"cancer cells in 1 of 2 nodes. My surgeon said its nothing to worry about since the node was removed. I can't help but worry! I did chemo, surgery, and now tamoxifen. Anyone else have a similar experience?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 2 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Laura,

      I had the same report.... in one of my nodes. My onc. and surgeon said pretty much the same thing. It did not change my treatment, the node was removed. All it did was change my stage from 2A to 2B. Do I worry about it 5 years later.... NO. I am also on a hormone blocker but it is...

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      Laura,

      I had the same report.... in one of my nodes. My onc. and surgeon said pretty much the same thing. It did not change my treatment, the node was removed. All it did was change my stage from 2A to 2B. Do I worry about it 5 years later.... NO. I am also on a hormone blocker but it is Femara. You have done all you can do. You have received all the treatments available. Now Laura, it is your job and duty to LIVE YOUR LIFE. Let the doctor's worry about your health. God's blessings to you. You have been on "high alert" for a long time.... let it go. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • terri best Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      I have stage 2b ductal carcinoma. I had a lynpectomy and also involvement in 1 of 3 nodes that were removed. I haven't started treatment. I'm having the Oncotype DX done and had a PET scan done last Fri. I have a follow-up with my oncologist Thurs. to go over the results of both. Ask your...

      more

      I have stage 2b ductal carcinoma. I had a lynpectomy and also involvement in 1 of 3 nodes that were removed. I haven't started treatment. I'm having the Oncotype DX done and had a PET scan done last Fri. I have a follow-up with my oncologist Thurs. to go over the results of both. Ask your doctor about these tests if it will make you feel better.

      1 comment

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