NCCN Guidelines for Patients™: Breast Cancer
A tumor that is not
made of cancer cells
procedure that collects
of feeling due to drugs in a
specific area of the body
around the edge of a tumor
that is removed during
A doctor who
specializes in testing cells
to identify disease
A knife for surgery
Part 3: Tests for breast cancer
There are two types of needle biopsies: a core needle biopsy and fine-needle
aspiration. The core needle biopsy is the more common and favored method. It
obtains a larger tissue sample for testing. A fine-needle aspiration can be used to
remove fluid from a cyst to check for cancer cells.
If your doctor can feel a lump, a needle biopsy can be done in the doctor’s office.
If not easily felt, your doctor will use imaging to help find where to place the needle.
When mammography is used to guide the needle, it is called a stereotactic needle
biopsy (Figure 9). Ultrasound-guided biopsy uses an ultrasound image.
. When your doctor needs a larger tissue sample, an excisional
biopsy will be done. For this biopsy, your doctor will remove breast tissue with a
scalpel. The whole mass along with some normal tissue, called a margin, will be
removed. If the surgeon cannot feel a lump, a wire will be inserted into the mass
using mammography. This is called a wire localization biopsy. It is usually done
under local anesthesia and does not require an overnight stay.
Figure 9. Stereotactic needle biopsy
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