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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

  • Nikol Vega Profile

    Did anyone have a PET scan before surgery or is this usually done after surgery (lumpectomy)?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Aida Rivera Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Yes I am having one this week and my surgery is on the 16th

      Comment
    • Ana Naluh Andrade Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I just had it after surgery and chemo.

      Comment
  • Joellen Wolfson Profile

    Does a satisfactory breast reconstruction depend on what type of treatment you have after surgery? I have read that radiation tends to shrink and also harden the breast tissue.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 1 answer
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Joellen. Yes radiation tends to shrink the tissue. So it can effect what type if reconstruction you have done. When I had my mastectomy I wasn't a candidate for immediate reconstruction due to my stage, etc. Now I'm finished with radiation and doing research on my options for surgery. My skin...

      more

      Hi Joellen. Yes radiation tends to shrink the tissue. So it can effect what type if reconstruction you have done. When I had my mastectomy I wasn't a candidate for immediate reconstruction due to my stage, etc. Now I'm finished with radiation and doing research on my options for surgery. My skin on the radiated side is not hard but it is tighter than the other side. I have made appts to visit plastic surgeons. I may not have enough skin to do the expanders with implants option. But there are several other types that give great results!! I am looking at DIEP flap reconstruction now. The do a mini tummy tuck & take fat from your tummy to form breasts. I've seen pics & it looks great!!!! Plus a flat tummy to boot! There's a few other options as well. Go to breastreconstruction.org. You can see real photos there. Best wishes to you, Diana. :)

      Comment
  • Mary Anne Babicky-Bouton Profile

    Hi my lovely sisters, had my lumpectomy and didn't have clear margins so going back to surgery in Jan. I just want to thank you all for being hear because I know some of you have gone thru the same thing, which is why I didn't loose it when I heard.

    Asked by anonymous

    stage_4 Patient
    about 7 years 12 answers
    • View all 12 answers
    • frances pensato Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Just hang in there . You will be fine. There have been man that have to go through a second surgery but happy with the results at the end. We are all here for you and sending you lots of strength.

      Comment
    • Cheryl Wornham Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Sorry you have to go through another surgery prayers coming your way

      Comment
  • billiemae  cobern Profile

    i had a biopsy on 3/27/12~results were cancer ~i have a shooting pain going under my arm is this normal?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2B Patient
    almost 8 years 2 answers
    • Tiffani Warila Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      So sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I am stage 2b hormone positive and HER2 negative, 1 out of 10 nodes positive. Did the surgeon take any lymph nodes during the biopsy? I know after my lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy, my surgeon said that I may experience "random" shooting pain in my...

      more

      So sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I am stage 2b hormone positive and HER2 negative, 1 out of 10 nodes positive. Did the surgeon take any lymph nodes during the biopsy? I know after my lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy, my surgeon said that I may experience "random" shooting pain in my arm. That could be what is causing yours? I would call your doctor and double check, just to be on the safe side. Best of luck to you, we are all here to help you on this journey.

      1 comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Dear Billiemae, Never be afraid to call the doctor who did the biopsy and ask a question. If you ask all of us, we would all come up with a different answer regarding discomfort post-biopsy's. If you have a concern, it is important TO YOU. I was also staged at 2B IDC. I don't know if this is...

      more

      Dear Billiemae, Never be afraid to call the doctor who did the biopsy and ask a question. If you ask all of us, we would all come up with a different answer regarding discomfort post-biopsy's. If you have a concern, it is important TO YOU. I was also staged at 2B IDC. I don't know if this is normal or not but contact the doctor's office, especially if you have increased swelling, redness, and pain. Hang in there Billiemae. We've been down this path. Please keep in contact with us, we are here to help all women get through this with love and support. God's blessings.... Sharon

      1 comment

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