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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

  • Rachael Leslie Profile

    My girlfriend was diagnosed with breast cancer yesterday. The appointment with the surgeon is next week to get specific answers. I want to do anything and everything I can to help her through this. Any advice is very much needed and appreciated!

    Asked by anonymous

    Family Member or Loved One
    about 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Rachael,
      How wonderful your dear friend has you standing by her side. She is probably going through the depths of the most terrifying hell right now. I agree with what Anne Marie has said. When I was diagnosed, my friends left me.... which was a horrendous shock. What she will need is your...

      more

      Rachael,
      How wonderful your dear friend has you standing by her side. She is probably going through the depths of the most terrifying hell right now. I agree with what Anne Marie has said. When I was diagnosed, my friends left me.... which was a horrendous shock. What she will need is your support. Go with her to her appointments.... the diagnostic ones will be particularly important. She will need someone to --take notes-- as she will never be able to remember most of what is being said. This is a step by step process. Try to keep her from going to the really dark side. There are a ton of positive stories and outcomes to this lousy diagnosis. We, here, are living proof. Some of the journey's have been very tough but these strong women are here to share their struggles and outcomes. You are a dear friend to want to help her through this battle. Please stay in touch with us, we are here to help you and her along her path. Take care, Sharon

      1 comment
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      My heart goes out to you and your girlfriend cancer affects not only the patient but the loved ones also. The best thing you can do for your girlfriend is to be at her side offer to go to all her doctor appts with her be her second set of ears ask those questions that she forgot to ask because...

      more

      My heart goes out to you and your girlfriend cancer affects not only the patient but the loved ones also. The best thing you can do for your girlfriend is to be at her side offer to go to all her doctor appts with her be her second set of ears ask those questions that she forgot to ask because when you are with the doctor we patients go blank I don't know how many times I was going to ask this that or the other thing and get into the office and I go blank my husband would just chime in for me Be patient with your girlfriend she will be on a whirlwind of emotions. Hold her tell her it's okay to talk about it all with you let her know your feelings also. My husband and I held each other up luckily one was always stronger then the other on those bad days. I have a link on my profile to my story of my personal experience with breast cancer in 2003. I take you from the initial diagnosis the biopsy surgery and recovery with a reflection a year later. Even though my type of breast cancer or choice of treatment may be different I hope by sharing my experience it will help other women and there family. http://home.roadrunner.com/~amj/

      Comment
  • julie s Profile

    I finished my 3rd of six chemo rounds today!!half way there! Woo hoo! In two weeks I'll have a status check MRI. I can feel the tumor shrinking so should be good news!!!

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    about 7 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Yeah!!!!! For you!!!! God bless

      Comment
    • Erin Timlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I could feel my tumor shrinking too and I had a total response!! There was nothing left in the breast or nodes after completing 8 rounds of chemo. Good luck!! Keep envisioning that tumor GONE!!!!!

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Hi everyone! I'm going for recontruction surgery today after lumpectomy. I'm kind of scared but positive. My parh rep after node surgery and lumpectomy showed chemo was100% effective. Smiles, jayme

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Another walk down the road of recovery. Prayers are with you.

      1 comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Jayme! YOU GO GIRL! Fabulous news and getting on with life. Each step is another leap back to normal. YAHOOOO! We celebrate with you.
      Take care, Sharon

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Can breast cancer be known for sure without a biopsy?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      As far as I know, this is the only definitive way of diagnosing for breast cancer. With that biopsy, a lot can be shown such as what type of breast cancer, and what the preliminary stage is. With that information, a treatment plan can be started. I know of no other way that would actually be...

      more

      As far as I know, this is the only definitive way of diagnosing for breast cancer. With that biopsy, a lot can be shown such as what type of breast cancer, and what the preliminary stage is. With that information, a treatment plan can be started. I know of no other way that would actually be able to examine the cells to see if cancer is present.
      Take care, Sharon

      4 comments
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      The only definite way to diagnose any type of cancer is with some sort of biopsy.... Blood test may give clues an may rule out other diagnosis. But a biopsy takes you right to the source and the specimen can be dissected under a microscope. A mammogram/ ultrasound /scan/MRI/even PET scan can...

      more

      The only definite way to diagnose any type of cancer is with some sort of biopsy.... Blood test may give clues an may rule out other diagnosis. But a biopsy takes you right to the source and the specimen can be dissected under a microscope. A mammogram/ ultrasound /scan/MRI/even PET scan can only point out a suspicious area or hot spot all wonderful diagnostic tools that usually lead up to a biopsy if something is found suspicious

      1 comment

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