Biopsy Rockwall, TX
If your doctors discover a lump during a mammograms, ultrasound, or MRI screening, they may opt to perform a biopsy. This is always a measure of last resort because it is an invasive testing method, but it is the only way they can truly be certain whether a growth is benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
During a biopsy, doctors remove a small piece of breast tissue from the area in question either by needle or a surgical incision. The collected cells are then examined under a microscope to determine whether they are cancerous.
Types of Biopsies
There a variety of methods for collecting these tissue samples. The following are the most common:
Fine Needle Aspiration
A thin needle is inserted into the tumor to determine if it is filled with fluid or if it is solid. If clear fluid is present, the tumor is typically benign. If the fluid is cloudy, or the mass is solid, then the resulting extraction is examined further.
Core Needle Biopsy
This technique is an injection as well, but the needle used is larger. The reason for this is because the doctor will be removing multiple, small core samples from the tumor site. Sometimes vacuum suction is used to assist in the removal of these cores.
In some cases, a larger sample is required, and the cells are removed by surgical incision. This cut may be incisional, which means only a small portion is removed, or excisional which means your doctor will remove the entire tumor for testing.
The Biopsy Procedure
Patients will be instructed to remove their clothing above the waist and put on a paper gown. They may be given a sedative, and will be treated with a local anesthetic in the sampling site. The doctors performing the biopsy may use ultrasound technology to locate the lump before removing a portion of it for testing.
After the sample is removed, the doctor may insert a small metal clip into the biopsy site to make it easier to locate with future mammograms.
Following the procedure, you should expect some bruising and swelling which can be treated with a cold pack and acetaminophen for any pain.
After the Biopsy
The biopsy results may be negative, meaning that no cancer is present. If this is the case, no more treatment is necessary, and patients need only continue with their annual mammogram screenings. Benign conditions may include:
- Fibrosis: A thickening in connective tissues
- Cysts: A fluid filled sac
- Benign tumor: A portion of the breast that grew abnormally fast, but is non-cancerous
- Mastitis: An infection caused by breast feeding. This is usually treated with antibiotics
- Fat necrosis: Scar tissue that feels like a lump
- Duct ectasia: A thickening of the milk duct
If it is discovered that cancer is present, the next step is to determine what kind of cancer it is before detailing a treatment plan. Some of the factors doctors look for in a biopsy include:
- In situ: The cancer is in a duct and has not yet spread
- Invasive/infiltrating: The cancer has spread to other breast tissues nearby, or it has spread to the lymph nodes and traveled to other parts of the body through the blood stream
- Fast or slow spreading cancers
- Cancer that responds to hormone therapy
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