Breast Cancer Diagnosis Rests on Breast Biopsy Treatment -PathSOS
If there is breast lump or other suspicious symptoms, and if other tests such as ultrasound/mammogram show that you may have breast cancer, you will probably need to have a biopsy. However, a breast biopsy procedure doesn’t always mean you have breast cancer. It is heartening to know that most biopsy results are negative, that means not cancer, but a biopsy is the only way to find out. During a biopsy, a doctor /radiologist/pathologist will remove cells from the suspicious area so they can be looked under the microscope to see if cancer cells are present or not.
Types of Breast Biopsies
There are different kinds of breast biopsies. Some use a thin needle (FNAB, suction), and some use an incision (cut in the skin). Each has pros and cons. The type you have depends on a number of things, like:
- How suspicious is the lesion
- How big it is
- Where it is in the breast
- If there is more than one
- Other medical problems you might have
- Your personal preferences
Ask the doctor which type of biopsy you will undergo.
Fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy
In an FNA biopsy, a very thin, hollow needle(21-23g) attached to a syringe is used to withdraw (aspirate) a small amount of tissue from a suspicious area. The needle used for an FNA biopsy is thinner than the one used for blood tests.
A pathologist performs the procedure mostly. Usually FNAB is like a screening procedure that helps in the further management of lump. The result may be equivocal or unequivocal. If unequivocal, the next step is to go for a core needle biopsy or open biopsy.
Core needle biopsy
A core biopsy uses a larger needle to sample breast changes felt by the doctor or seen on an ultrasound, mammogram, or MRI guidance. This biopsy is then examined by the pathologists to diagnose the condition. This is mostly performed by an interventional radiologist
Surgical (open/excision) biopsy
In rare cases, surgery is needed to remove all or part of the lump for testing. This is called a surgical or open biopsy. Most often, the surgeon removes the entire mass or abnormal area as well as a surrounding margin of normal breast tissue. This procedure is performed by a breast surgeon.
Lymph node biopsy
The doctor may also need to biopsy the lymph nodes under the arm to check them for cancer spread/metastasis. This might be done at the same time as biopsy/removal of the breast tumor, Or it can be dome earlier by needle biopsy, or with a sentinel lymph node biopsy9at operation) and/or an axillary lymph node dissection (lump removal).
Regardless of what type of biopsy you have, the biopsy samples will be sent to a lab where a specialized doctor called a pathologist will look at them to make a diagnosis of metastasis. It typically will take at least a few days for you to find out the results. Sometimes immunohistochemistry may be done to diagnose properly.
Questions to Ask Before a Breast Biopsy Procedure
It’s important to ask questions if there’s anything you’re not sure about, and you should nit be ashamed about it. It’s a good idea to make a list of questions to ask your doctor before getting a breast biopsy procedure. We are one of the best "breast cancer diagnosis" specialists or 'breast cancer doctors, in India.
If the doctor thinks you don’t need a biopsy, but you still feel there’s something wrong with your breast, follow your instincts. Don’t be afraid to talk to the doctor about this or go to another doctor for a second opinion. PATHSOS is an expert second opinion service that provides online consultation to guide you. A biopsy is the only sure way to diagnose breast cancer. Getting a second opinion about breast biopsy diagnosis is an excellent idea to be sure about the diagnosis, whether the biopsy was cancer or not. This helps the patient and family have peace of mind if two experts agree.
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