Surgery Necessary for Biopsy?

Last Modified: January 24, 2012

Question

Do I have to have a surgery to get a biopsy for possible breast cancer?

Answer

Christine Hill-Kayser, MD, Radiation Oncologist, responds:

Not necessarily. Sometimes the initial biopsy can be done with a large needle; however, your doctor may still recommend a surgery if the needle biopsy is negative for cancer or inconclusive. A surgical biopsy allows the pathologist to look at much more tissue under the microscope, and this may be necessary either to rule out cancer or to further characterize a known cancer.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Interpreting Test Results transcript.

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