If your doctor finds a breast lump or sees a suspicious area in a mammogram or sonogram, he or she may recommend that you get a breast biopsy. You might wonder, what is a breast biopsy? Biopsy is an effective way to find out if the area is cancerous.
A breast biopsy removes a suspicious area in the breast, and cells are sent to a lab for testing. It may take more than a week to get results. There are three main types of biopsy: fine needle aspiration biopsy, core needle biopsy, and surgical biopsy. Your doctor will recommend the type of biopsy based on your situation.
During a fine needle aspiration biopsy, your doctor will use a thin needle to take out a sample of cells or fluid from the suspicious area. This biopsy can be done in a clinic.
Core needle biopsy is similar to the fine needle aspiration biopsy, but with a slightly larger needle. Your doctor may use X-ray equipment, ultrasound, or MRI to find the location of the suspicious area. This biopsy can be done in a clinic where you may have local anesthesia.
In a surgical biopsy, your doctor will remove part or all of the breast lump. This is usually done in a hospital where you will be put under local or general anesthesia.
What do the results mean? If the final results come back negative, this means the cells are not cancerous, but you may need early follow-up or intervention. If the results are inconclusive, you may need another biopsy. The results could come back positive, which means the cells are cancerous. Your doctor will help you determine the next steps based on the nature of the cancer cells.
It is important to understand the need to have a biopsy does not mean you have cancer. A biopsy sample is the most accurate way to diagnose cancer cells.
Talk to your doctor about any abnormal changes you have experienced and what preventive measures are suitable for you. You can make an appointment at our OB/GYN Department by calling (212) 966-0228 (Manhattan), (718) 886-1287 (37th Avenue, Queens) and (929) 362-3006 (45th Avenue, Queens). Learn more by visiting our OB/GYN webpage.