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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

  • Misti%20 Hillis Profile

    Which is best, core biopsy or excisional biopsy?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 2 answers
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Morning Misty
      The type of biopsy is one of those choices which is best for you. A core biopsy is less invasive. With the assistance of xray they go in with a big bore type of needle or cone knife and remove part of the suspicious area.

      With an excisional biopsy after dye localization. Using the...

      more

      Morning Misty
      The type of biopsy is one of those choices which is best for you. A core biopsy is less invasive. With the assistance of xray they go in with a big bore type of needle or cone knife and remove part of the suspicious area.

      With an excisional biopsy after dye localization. Using the assistance of mammogram the radiologist inserts a wire to inject dye to the suspicious area. The surgeon then goes via incision and removes the dyed are taking the specimen back to the radiologist to make sure by xray assistance again that the entire suspicious area us removed.

      I had my biopsies in 2003, 2005, and 2008 each by incisionsl biopsy to me it was peace of mind I knew the day of the procedure the results as my surgeon had a pathologist reading it while I was recovering from the anesthesia and he knew that he had clean margins. He removed the entire suspicious are. You can read my personal experience at http://home.roadrunner.com/~amj. I take you from my initial abnormal mammogram, the biopsy, surgery and recovery period. With a reflection a year later.

      Hope this helps. The more information you have the easier it is to decide what us best for you. Ask questions to the doctors and the nurses, what would they do how did patients handle the procedure. As my doctor said educate yourself. Be your own advocate for your care

      Take care

      Comment
    • Misti%20 Hillis Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had a lumpectomy which is assume is about the same as an incisional biopsy sixteen years ago. The mass was benign but this mass is aggressively growing and I also am experiencing burning in my nipple? I am wanting the quickest result.

      4 comments
  • Elizabeth Castro Profile

    How long before you can drive after surgery?

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2012
    about 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • melissa perlman Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Depends on type of surgery. Lumpectomy up to a week. Mastectomy up to 2 weeks. These are the usuals. However, everyone is different .

      Comment
    • Diane Washington Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Your body will tell when you can drive . Be patience and know that it gets better

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Has anyone gone in for a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy and come out with a partial mastectomy axilllary lymph node dissection?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    about 7 years 2 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I don't think this is all that uncommon. I remember my mastectomy was late because the woman before me ended up with a mastectomy and axillary lymph node dissection. Tests can only show so much and things can change once the surgeon starts the actual surgery. It is a shock to wake up and...

      more

      I don't think this is all that uncommon. I remember my mastectomy was late because the woman before me ended up with a mastectomy and axillary lymph node dissection. Tests can only show so much and things can change once the surgeon starts the actual surgery. It is a shock to wake up and discover things didn't go as expected. My surgeon told me my 5 sentinal nodes were clear. After the actual complete pathology was done, one of the nodes had a small area of cancer and my diagnosis went from a 2A to a 2B.
      I was pretty upset. This probably happens a lot more than one would think.
      Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Yep. I was to have a lumpectomy at the bottom of the breast and up to the edge of the areola. I told him if he had to take the areola and nipple to take the whole thing He drew on me so I could see what he PLANNED to do based on the core biopsy and ultrasound and how he would arrange the the...

      more

      Yep. I was to have a lumpectomy at the bottom of the breast and up to the edge of the areola. I told him if he had to take the areola and nipple to take the whole thing He drew on me so I could see what he PLANNED to do based on the core biopsy and ultrasound and how he would arrange the the tissue. My 3 sentinel nodes were clean and he got good margins but I ended up with a partial mastectomy. The incision is well hidden in the crease beneath my breast but he had to cut to the base of the nipple and remove a tiny secftion of the areola. He did a great job piecing me back together. Until they get in there and the all the tests results are in, the final product can be an unknown to us until we wake up. Cancer has a nasty way of messing up the best plan our doctors try to accomplish for us. Good healing to you. Jo

      Comment
  • Alysia Krafel Profile

    How much pain will there be after lymph node removal under the arm pit?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 1 Patient
    over 6 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      It probably will be affected by the number removed. I only had 3 sentinel nodes removed. The pain was minimal but one must be vigilant against scar tissue that can form even way out from surgery. It is my tiny, painful reminder of cancer. I hope you will not have to have many removed. The least...

      more

      It probably will be affected by the number removed. I only had 3 sentinel nodes removed. The pain was minimal but one must be vigilant against scar tissue that can form even way out from surgery. It is my tiny, painful reminder of cancer. I hope you will not have to have many removed. The least invasive under the arm the better.

      Comment
    • Erin Timlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I have to say, my lymph node removal was a bit worse than anything else. Everyone is different. I had 14 removed and was left with a very tiny scar, so from what I understand, the doctor can move around quite a bit through a small incision. The area is naturally tender, so I felt a good deal...

      more

      I have to say, my lymph node removal was a bit worse than anything else. Everyone is different. I had 14 removed and was left with a very tiny scar, so from what I understand, the doctor can move around quite a bit through a small incision. The area is naturally tender, so I felt a good deal of pain and discomfort but I slept fine and was totally mobile. Just not a fun area to have operated on. They'll give you some good meds, and plan to have a smaller narrow pillow to elevate your arm while you sleep for a while. Good luck!

      Comment

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