What is a biopsy?
When other tests show that you might have breast cancer, you will probably need to have a biopsy. Needing a breast biopsy doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer. Most biopsy results are not cancer, but a biopsy is the only way to find out. During a biopsy, a surgeon will remove cells from the suspicious area so they can be studied in the lab to see if cancer cells are present.
The doctor will take a tissue sample and send it to a lab where a specialist, called a pathologist, will look at it. It typically will take a few days for you to find out the results.
Core needle biopsy
A core biopsy uses a larger needle to sample breast changes felt by the doctor or pinpointed by ultrasound or mammogram. Another way to do a core biopsy is known as vacuum-assisted.
Fine needle aspiration biopsy
In a fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy, a very thin, hollow needle attached to a syringe is used to withdraw (aspirate) a small amount of tissue from a suspicious area. The needle used for an FNA biopsy is thinner than the one used for blood tests.