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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

  • blair greiner Profile

    My skin is black and blue under my compression sleeve. Is this normal? Worried!

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 2 answers
    • Nancy Ries Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Blair, I was not in your situation. I would say "when in doubt" or if you have a question or concern, call your doctor's office.

      Comment
    • nancy  wilcox Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      are you taking aspirin or any blood thinners? You better call your doc- maybe the sleeve is too tight?

      Comment
  • Karen Schroeder Profile

    I am having surgery on Tuesday (10/18) for a double mastectomy with reconstruction. How long will drains be in and are they difficult to live with until removal?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 1 Patient
    almost 8 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Donna Gray Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      It is very important to peroxide the area where the drain goes into your side. It may pull if it tries to scab over too fast. You also may have some leakage around the entry site as well. If that happens tape gauze under the site. Use paper tape that will prevent you from getting irritated by...

      more

      It is very important to peroxide the area where the drain goes into your side. It may pull if it tries to scab over too fast. You also may have some leakage around the entry site as well. If that happens tape gauze under the site. Use paper tape that will prevent you from getting irritated by latex medical tape. I am at the end of my mastectomy with nipple reconstruction. It is a long and hard journey but faith got me thru it. God bless you!!!

      Comment
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      I'm going in on the 24th. I received a cami to hold the drains. Your insurance may cover them. They also may give you one at the hospital. Like Kathy said ther usually come out in 1-2 weeks. Good luck Jessica!

      Comment
  • Francine Williams Profile

    I had surgurey on Sept 28th. My breasts are hurting where the cuts are and it huts real bad when I'm trying to get out of bed. Is that normal?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 3 answers
    • anonymous Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2006

      Hi Francine after my surgery which was a Lumpectomy I had pain for several months although the pain was was not daily. After following up with my Dr I was told the pain was from scar tissue in my breast . However, I would suggest that you immediately notify your Dr since it has been more than...

      more

      Hi Francine after my surgery which was a Lumpectomy I had pain for several months although the pain was was not daily. After following up with my Dr I was told the pain was from scar tissue in my breast . However, I would suggest that you immediately notify your Dr since it has been more than 2 months since your surgery. Stay encouraged and keep smiling:) I recall that every little ache and pain regardless of what part of my body that i felt it the first thing I would say to myself is Oh I wonder if the cancer is spreading. Girl I had to finally tell myself I am cancer free!!!! But seriously whenever I was unsure about any aches and pains I would follow-up with my Dr. Keep me posted!
      Love and Blessings

      Comment
    • Francine Williams Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      ~Hurts~

      Comment
  • Jessica Carlqvist Profile

    Going thru chemo right now, no. 5 of 6 next week. I have large breasts (34 HH), and want to remove both (bc in right). Will they remove only right breast first, or both at the same time? Will they put implants in then, or later? How do they work?

    Asked by anonymous

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

      It depends a lot on your insurance and dr. Would only remove one of mine and no recon until later. I've noticed women in early stages have recon at the same time.

      Comment
    • Brandi Mixon Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      It is all determined by you, your surgeons and your insurance. I had BMX but at the last minute chose to wait and have my expanders placed after chemo was finished. My implants won't be as large as my original breast but they are as large as my PS can make me. Had I chosen to travel out of town...

      more

      It is all determined by you, your surgeons and your insurance. I had BMX but at the last minute chose to wait and have my expanders placed after chemo was finished. My implants won't be as large as my original breast but they are as large as my PS can make me. Had I chosen to travel out of town for surgery, I would have been able to have a different procedure. Be sure you check with your insurance to see what is covered I (different states allow different coverage), do your research, and ask your surgeon and PS lots of questions!! No question is too small or insignificant to ask!! Good luck to you!

      1 comment

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