Not everyone who undergoes a breast biopsy has breast cancer, but it is the most accurate way to study cells close up. If an examination, mammogram or ultrasounds reveals a lump in a patients’ breast or suspect areas, a specialist may remove a sample of tissue to check for cancer.
There is more than one biopsy procedure – some use a needle, some an incision. Our specialists will determine which is the best biopsy for you based on the size and location of the lump or suspicious area.
What to expect
Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy
This biopsy is specifically chosen for lumps that are more likely to be fluid-filled. If the specialist suspects this, a fine needle is inserted into the lump at which stage it may collapse once the fluid is drawn out. If the lump persists, the specialist may perform another fine needle aspiration to remove tissue for further examination.
Core Needle Biopsy
This biopsy is performed using a hollow needle inserted through the skin and into the breast lump to remove cells. The specialist may use imaging technology (Ultrasound or Mammogram) to guide the needle to the specific area and may insert a small marker into the breast to pinpoint the biopsy location in case later surgery is required.
During this procedure, your breast is numbed using local anaesthesia to keep pain to a minimum.
Open Excisional Biopsy
This procedure involves making a small incision (cut) into the breast to remove the lump or area of interest so that a clear diagnosis can be made. This is a surgical procedure and will usually require a general anaesthetic.