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What is a Breast Biospy and What You can Expect

Updated on April 21, 2010
Mammograms decide if a Biospy is required
Mammograms decide if a Biospy is required

A breast biospy is a procedure that is conducted in order to determine if suspected breast tissue is cancerous or benign. A biospy is often ordered after a mammogram or self breast exam shows abnormal growth. In fact, only about 5% of mammogram results conclude with a direct outcome of breast cancer. Biopsies give doctors an accurate understanding of what irregular tissue actually is through close examination and testing of the irregular tissue.

A doctor will find biospy results useful if questionable growth was found during a self breast exam or a mammogram. Having a breast biospy does not mean that you have cancer, it is just another tool in a doctor’s arsenal to determine what exactly suspected abnormal tissue actually is. In fact, 80% of breast biopsies end without a diagnosis of cancer.

Hollow Needle Removes a Sample
Hollow Needle Removes a Sample

On the Day of Your Biospy

A breast biospy is determined by most to be an out-patient operation, so you can expect to do little work ahead of time. Your primary doctor will ask about all of your medical conditions and a comprehensive understanding of drugs, over the counter and prescription drugs, that you have been taking recently.

Wear loose fitting clothing and plan on having another person drive you home. You will want to go home and rest after the procedure; returning to work after the biospy may be too stressful on you physically.

Ultrasound Guided Biospy in Action
Ultrasound Guided Biospy in Action

Different Types of Biospies

There are a number of different types of breast biopsies. X-Ray, ultrasound, MRI guided and open surgery methods can be practiced to locate the questionable tissue. The MRI guided and ultrasound detection variations have few side effects. X-rays also detect irregularities without requiring surgery but it does not have the accuracy of an ultrasound or MRI and emits radiation. The most invasive procedure, open surgery, is used only when cancer is possible; the cancerous tissue can often times be removed at one time.

When the suspicious tissue has been located using one of the four methods, a health care professional with use a hallow needle to remove a tissue sample. There are various styles of needles and sometimes a vacuum is used to remove a sample.

Monthly Self Breast Exams are Important
Monthly Self Breast Exams are Important

Vigilance is Key

Though a breast biospy lab result may come back as negative, it is important to have the location where suspicious growth was discovered checked frequently. Schedule mammograms and conduct self breast exams on a regular basis. You can have cancer in its earliest stages before testing can detect cancer. Most doctors advise getting both a MRI and a mammogram once a year for those who have had irregular growths in the past. The earlier you detect any new abnormal growths, the better your chances are for recovering if cancer is determined to be present.

Visit our website to discover more about getting a breast biospy and how to identify breast cancer.


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