Your doctor can use several biopsy methods to
remove tissue for the pathologist to examine. The choice depends on
such things as the size and location of the lump or suspicious area
and your general health. Ask your doctor which of these methods
will be used for your biopsy:
The use of a needle and syringe to
try to drain the lump. If the lump is a cyst (a fluid-filled sac
that is not cancer), removing the fluid will collapse it. No other
treatment will be needed.
- Fine-Needle Aspiration.
The use of a thin needle
and syringe to collect cell clumps or single cells from the
- Needle Biopsy.
The removal of a small piece of
breast tissue using a needle that has a special cutting edge; also
called a core needle biopsy.
If cancer is not found using fine-needle aspiration or needle
biopsy, the doctor will most likely do an excisional or incisional
biopsy. The doctor uses these tests to make sure cancer cells were
not missed by the needle.
- Excisional Biopsy.
The removal of all of the
lump. Used most often, it is the current "standard" procedure for
small (less than about an inch in diameter) lumps. Also called a
- Incisional Biopsy.
The removal of part of the
lump. This method may be used if the breast lump is large.
- Mammographic Localization With Biopsy.
a breast change can be seen on a mammogram (an x-ray of the breast)
but cannot be felt. In this procedure, the doctor uses the
mammogram as a guide for placing small needles (needle
localization) at the site of the breast change. Sometimes dye is
used instead of needles to mark the site. The suspicious tissue
then can be removed for examination by the pathologist.