Mammographic Needle Localization Biopsies
Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
In my last mammogram they found 9 microcalcifications in a cluster in my left breast, which was an increase over past mammograms.
It was suggested to my husband and me that I have a biopsy procedure done. They explained that I would go for another mammogram, and the radiologist would insert a needle, then a wire of sorts to pin point the location for the surgeon. She would then make a small incision and then somehow remove an area slightly larger than the area of the cluster of calcifications.
Is this sufficient or should I be having a surgical procedure?
Advantages of an excisional biopsy include:
- complete knowledge of histology prior to planning further surgical treatment should cancer be found
- avoidance of false negative biopsies due to a sampling error (possible when pieces of tissue are biopsied with other modalities such as fine needle aspirations)
- If cancer is found and the specimen margins are negative for tumor, the biopsy may serve as the definitive lumpectomy
- the need for an incision and scar
- discomfort, anxiety
- increased health care costs
For an increase in number of clustered microcalcifications on serial mammograms, particularly when no mass is palpable, a needle localization biopsy is an indicated procedure. You should discuss all the specifics of your case with your oncologist.
Read more about Needle localization biopsy.