This method involves biopsy on one day; then, if the lump is cancerous, the treatment takes place within a couple of weeks. In many cases, the biopsy can be done on an outpatient basis, and it may be possible to perform the biopsy under local, rather than general, anesthesia. The short time between biopsy and treatment (which will not reduce the chances for success) allows time to examine the permanent section slides, to perform additional tests to determine the extent of the disease, to discuss treatment options, to gain another medical opinion, to make home and work arrangements, and to prepare emotionally for the treatment.
If you are going to have a biopsy, discuss these procedures with your doctor. The two of you can decide which option is best for you. Additional information about biopsy can be found in , another National Cancer Institute booklet.