Information on Breast Cancer Biopsy

Information on Breast Cancer Biopsy— Here we have discussed the types of breast cancer biopsies that are performed by a   certified pathologist or a surgeon.

Gunjan Rastogi
Written by: Gunjan RastogiUpdated at: Sep 01, 2012 10:30 IST
Information on Breast Cancer Biopsy

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If you can feel a lump on your breast or have had a mammogram, you must be suspecting breast cancer, however, before drawing conclusions, get it tested by a doctor. The doctor will recommend you to get a breast biopsy done to discover the real cause of your worry. There are various kinds of breast biopsies that are conducted by a certified pathologist or a surgeon. [Read: Diagnosis of breast cancer]

Types of Breast Cancer Biopsy Procedures

  • Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy (FNAB)— In this procedure, a pathologist or surgeon uses a needle attached to a syringe to extract a small part of a tissue of the suspected breast and the tissue is examined under a microscope. If the doctor locates the lump (if there is any) on the breast, he guides the needle towards that area or otherwise conducts an ultrasound of the suspected breast to know the location of the lump before inserting the needle.
  • Core Needle Biopsy (CNB)—  Similar to FNAB, CNB uses a slightly larger and hollow needle. A local anesthetist is administered to numb the suspected breast and a part of the tissue of that breast is removed for examination. The needle is inserted three to six times to get hold of the cores of the tissue. This is a slightly lengthy procedure than FNAB, but presents a clearer picture of the suspected lump on the breast.
  • Skin Punch Biopsy (SPB) — The oncologist advises this type of breast cancer biopsy if he suspects inflammatory breast cancer or Paget’s disease. In inflammatory breast cancer, a miniature-sized device is used to remove the core of the tissue of the suspected breast area. In Paget’s disease, the same device is used to extract a part of the nipple/areola complex. The pathologist will use stitches to close the examined breast site. [Read: Symptoms of Inflammatory Breast Cancer]
  • MRI-guided Biopsy— The pathologist will use an MRI machine to get clear whereabouts of the lump in the suspected breast. The doctor uses an MRI report to ensure the exact location of the suspected cancerous tissue before the removal of its part for FNAB or CNB.
  • Surgicl aor Open Biopsy— This breast cancer biopsy type requires the doctor to make a notch or incision in the suspected cancer site to extract the core of the tissue. Open biopsy is classified as excisional biopsy and lumpectomy biopsy. Lumpectomy biopsy is carried out after confirmed diagnosis of breast cancer is done to remove all the cancerous cells whereas excisional biopsy is done to detect the presence of breast cancer.

The cost of breast cancer biopsy depends on the type of biopsy the pathologist chooses to undertake as per the patient’s general health condition and visible symptoms of breast cancer.


Read more articles on Breast Cancer.