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A woman living in the United States carries a 12.4% risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their life. While breast cancer is still a pervasive disease, the strides taken in medical technology have been battling cancer fiercely.
Sometimes, after mammography, breast ultrasounds, and even second opinion consultations, doctors may need to remove suspicious biological entities for further study and diagnosis. Then comes the breast biopsy. The word biopsy already carries a negative connotation, but it merely refers to the removal of bodily tissue to discover the existence or extent of an illness. It is intended to discover two things: Is it actually bad or did we just think it is? If it is bad, how much damage has been done? After a few days of study in the lab, you’ll receive your breast biopsy results.
There are a few different types of breast biopsies, each of which panders to different needs and uses. We’re going to go through them together such that if you ever hear the words “breast biopsy” you know exactly what’s going on.
- Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy: The FNA biopsy uses a hollow needle thinner than ones used for drawing blood to remove a small amount of tissue from suspicious areas.
- Core Needle Biopsy: For larger affected areas, the core needle biopsy uses a slightly larger needle to do the same work as the FNA. It takes a larger sample from the breast for testing.
- Surgical Biopsy: In some cases, an open surgical biopsy is required to remove a large lump from the breast. Often surrounding areas will also be removed to examine for potential infection spread.
- Lymph Node Biopsy: Generally done by FNA biopsy, sometimes it’s prudent to biopsy the lymph nodes to check if cancer has spread. This is done during a surgical biopsy as a preventative measure.
We know breast biopsy results are anxious topics, but breast health is incredibly important. If something is found to be abnormal, time can be your best friend. Any suspicions should be addressed immediately to medical professionals. Remember, if you’re ever worried, the best it can be is nothing. Don’t hesitate to be proactive about your breast health.