NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Breast Cancer - Carcinoma in Situ
, Version 1.2016
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
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.
may be used.
The tumor will be removed with a surgical knife
called a scalpel. If your surgeon can’t feel a
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
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