loading... close

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

  • sheree oden Profile

    Has anyone had a recurrence in a previous mastectomy ? An identical tumor came back 10!yrs later in the tissue surrounding an implant where my left breast had been. Next week I will have a re mastectomy, followed by radiation and more chemo.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Lisa S Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Recently diagnosed in my lymph nodes on my chest wall as well as many lymph nodes regionally after mastectomy chemo radiation and hormonal therapy. First dx 1/2010 this time 2/2012. Prayers and hugs going your way. Keep in touch.

      1 comment
    • Lisa S Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Recently diagnosed in my lymph nodes on my chest wall as well as many lymph nodes regionally after mastectomy chemo radiation and hormonal therapy. First dx 1/2010 this time 2/2012. Prayers and hugs going your way. Keep in touch.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Removing a section the size of a golf ball is what I'm told, but I don't even have a mass. Just a small collection of malignant calcifications (DCIS) measuring approx. 1.6cm. And they say Stage 0. So do they really need to take that much?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years 3 answers
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      I'm not a doctor but have read when doing a lumpectomy they also take a margin around the entire area and make sure they get clean margins or otherwise they may have to go back in and remove more. DCIS is a stage 0.

      2 comments
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      100% YES. I too was diagnosed with micro calculations, 1.6cm, stage 0 19 2012. I had 1st surgery and margins weren't clear so I had a 2nd lumpectomy 5 days later. In 2014 mammo detected more calcifications & I ended up getting a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. With that being...

      more

      100% YES. I too was diagnosed with micro calculations, 1.6cm, stage 0 19 2012. I had 1st surgery and margins weren't clear so I had a 2nd lumpectomy 5 days later. In 2014 mammo detected more calcifications & I ended up getting a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. With that being said I would recommend your Dr take as much as they need to so they can get it all in one shot. No your breast will not look the same but it may prevent you from xtra surgeries

      Comment
  • Erin Timlin Profile

    What kind of pain should I expect? I am having a right mastectomy with an expander on Wednesday. I have two little ones at home so I am wondering about recovery as well.

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2011
    almost 8 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Erin Timlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Thanks everyone. I am home and feeling great - so much better than I anticipated. I had nodes removed a month ago during breast conservation surgery which went great, but the extensive pathology revealed stage 0 DCIS so I had to go ahead with the mastectomy. At this point the pain isn't that bad....

      more

      Thanks everyone. I am home and feeling great - so much better than I anticipated. I had nodes removed a month ago during breast conservation surgery which went great, but the extensive pathology revealed stage 0 DCIS so I had to go ahead with the mastectomy. At this point the pain isn't that bad. Thanks for all your responses!

      Comment
    • Isabel Souchet Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      I had a right mastectomy with expanders also. I had a difficult time with the expanders, they really hurt. I was out of commission for about 3 weeks, then I could drive, walk the dogs etc. Didntntake too much pain relievers

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I just had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy positive. The doctor said that after my lumpectomy I would have radiation, but the sentinel node being positive makes me wonder what treatment would be best.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • vicki e Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      Four years ago I was diagnosed with stage 2b idc. I also had two positive nodes. I had a mastectomy, chemo and radiation. my docs assured me that the chemo and rads would take care of the two positive nodes and did not remove them. Fast forward to march 1,2012 and my two positive nodes were now...

      more

      Four years ago I was diagnosed with stage 2b idc. I also had two positive nodes. I had a mastectomy, chemo and radiation. my docs assured me that the chemo and rads would take care of the two positive nodes and did not remove them. Fast forward to march 1,2012 and my two positive nodes were now nine positive nodes. I am doing chemo again. I am not a happy camper. I questioned the decision not to trove them but wish I had thrown an all out hissy fit and insisted. I don't think I would be going through this again. If you decide to insist on the node removal, don't apologize to anyone and stand your ground. I wish I had. Docs are human and make mistakes. Go with your gut because you know your body best. My doc thought I was being a whiny butt. I should have been a screaming banshee ! Good luck and keep us posted.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I was in the same situation. I was told before my lumpectomy I would only need radiation. My sentinel lymph nodes were positive so now I am having chemotherapy then radiation then femora for 5 years. Ask your surgeon. My surgeon told my husband about the need for chemotherapy right after he...

      more

      I was in the same situation. I was told before my lumpectomy I would only need radiation. My sentinel lymph nodes were positive so now I am having chemotherapy then radiation then femora for 5 years. Ask your surgeon. My surgeon told my husband about the need for chemotherapy right after he completed my surgery.

      Comment

Educational Video

Personal Story

Related Topics

Looking for another topic?
Use the search box in the top right.

Footer 3

Breast cancer affects one out of every eight women in their lifetime.

spread the word