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.
(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.
Asked by anonymousLearning About Breast Cancer
My treatment started in 2006 so I also had a ton of tests pre-surgery. I had a CT-Scan instead of a PET Scan, a MUGA, Bone Scan, MRI. I did meet the Oncologist before I had surgery. It was a really miserable time mentally for me. It all happened so fast and it was frightening to me. I had so...
My treatment started in 2006 so I also had a ton of tests pre-surgery. I had a CT-Scan instead of a PET Scan, a MUGA, Bone Scan, MRI. I did meet the Oncologist before I had surgery. It was a really miserable time mentally for me. It all happened so fast and it was frightening to me. I had so many questions and as the tests came back my treatment plan became more clear. If I were you, I would talk to your surgeon or oncologist about why you are not receiving a PET scan. They may not feel you need it as they have the pre-diagnostics that are needed for you specific case. Treatment is now very specific and no two women are treated the same way. It all depends on the specific cells that make up your tumor.
This is the type of situation you are going in to you need to ask questions and have an answer that will put your mind to rest. Don't be the least bit shy about speaking up about anything. You are going to be your own best advocate. I was able to save myself a second horrific reaction to a medication because the oncologist's office had made a mistake on my chemo "recipe." The infusion nurse and I got into a discussion because she was blowing off my concern. Turns out, I was right, she was wrong. She said, "It's a good thing you were so insistant." (duh...) So... start learning to speak up.... be respectful, but ask your questions. Good luck, I hope you hang out on this board... there are wonderful caring women on this site.
Hi Sylvia. I was given a PET scan prior to the beginning of my treatment, but I had chemo first, then my bilateral mastectomy. I'm not sure it that has anything to do with it or not. I would certainly ask the reasoning behind that decision. You mentioned that you haven't met with your oncologist...
Hi Sylvia. I was given a PET scan prior to the beginning of my treatment, but I had chemo first, then my bilateral mastectomy. I'm not sure it that has anything to do with it or not. I would certainly ask the reasoning behind that decision. You mentioned that you haven't met with your oncologist yet. Do you mean your surgical oncologist (who performs your surgery) or your medical oncologist (who performs your chemo)? If its your surgical oncologist, he/she should be meeting with you soon to discuss the procedure & answer any questions you might have. I would definitely call their office & find out what's going on.
Asked by anonymousStage 1 Patient
Asked by anonymousStage 2B Patient
I was told by my dr. It may take up to a year before it feel normal.Comment 0
I had my surgery in March and I still have weird feeling underarm. Not sure if numbness is how I would describe it but just not a normal feelingComment 0
Asked by anonymousFamily Member or Loved One
“Breast cancer affects one out of every eight women in their lifetime.”spread the word