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NCCN Guidelines for Patients


Breast Cancer - Carcinoma in Situ

(stage 0)

, Version 1.2016



Health tests

Excisional biopsy

A biopsy is a procedure that removes tissue samples

for testing. There is more than one type of biopsy

used to remove breast tissue. Fine-needle aspiration

and a core needle biopsy use a needle to remove

tissue samples. Some core biopsy needles use

vacuum suction to remove tissue.

Besides needles, there are biopsies that remove

tissue during a minor surgery.

See Figure 2.2

. An

incisional biopsy is a surgery that removes part of a

tissue mass. An excisional biopsy is a surgery that

removes the whole tumor with some normal-looking

tissue around its edge. The normal-looking tissue is

called the surgical margin.

Your doctor may advise you to get an excisional

biopsy if one has not been done. It can be used to

rule out DCIS and invasive breast cancer. You may

have a second excision if pleomorphic LCIS is found

and abnormal cells are found in the surgical margin.

Pleomorphic LCIS consists of larger cells that are more

likely to become an invasive cancer than classic LCIS.

Figure 2.2 Excisional biopsy

An excisional biopsy removes the whole tumor

along with normal-looking tissue around its

edge. The normal-looking tissue is called the

surgical margin. Before the biopsy, your doctor

may want you to stop eating so that your

stomach is empty for the procedure. You may

also need to stop taking some medicines.



general anesthesia

may be used.

The tumor will be removed with a surgical knife

called a scalpel. If your surgeon can’t feel a

lump, an


probe may be used to find

the right spot. Another method to find the tumor

is wire localization. Using mammograms or

ultrasound, a small wire will be inserted through

the breast and into the tumor. Then your

surgeon will remove the tissue at the end of the


An excisional biopsy will leave a small scar.

It may also cause some pain and swelling

for a few days. Ask your treatment team for a

complete list of rare and common

side effects


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