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Surgeons' unanimous consensus: Needle biopsy is gold standard for breast cancer diagnosis
Date:10/7/2009

ear, approximately 1.7 million women underwent a breast biopsy to have a suspicious lump or imaging abnormality examined.1 During a breast biopsy, a small sample of tissue from the abnormal lesion is removed and sent to a pathologist to be analyzed microscopically to check for breast cancer. The tissue sample can be removed either through an open surgical biopsy or less invasive needle biopsy.

Women who undergo open surgical biopsy are generally put under anesthesia, and a physician creates an incision in the breast through which part of the lump is removed. Because an incision is required, open surgical biopsy carries the risk of infection, complications and scarring. Open biopsy also costs about two to four times more on average than a needle biopsy. During a needle biopsy, women are given local anesthesia, and a thin needle is used to withdraw small cores of tissue from the suspicious area. In some cases, imaging equipment may be used to guide the needle to the right spot. Unlike open surgical biopsy, minimally invasive needle biopsy may result in some bruising, but usually does not leave a scar. Additionally, the risks associated with needle biopsy are significantly less, as is patient recovery time.

"There are very few instances when needle biopsy is so technically difficult to perform due to a lesion's position or other factors, that an open surgical biopsy would be needed as the initial diagnostic procedure," said Dr. Silverstein.

At Hoag Breast Care Center, minimally invasive needle biopsy is the standard of care. In fact, only about one percent of the diagnostic biopsies performed at the center require an open surgical procedure. Needle biopsies provide detailed information about the nature of the breast tumor including biologic markers, histologic tumor grade, and lymphovascular invasion. This information can all be identified in the biopsy sample to aid in therapeutic decision-making before surgical intervention.

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Contact: Carolyn Hawley
chawley@pnlifesciences.com
619-849-5375
Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian
Source:Eurekalert

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