Early detection of cancer increases the chance of cure and survival; the same is true in the case of breast cancer as well. However, globally, an estimated 80% of women that undergo breast biopsy for diagnosis do not have breast cancer. So, when should a woman undergo breast biopsy? Read on to get an in-depth understanding.
What is a breast biopsy?
A breast biopsy is a clinical test that detects unhealthy tissues and suspicious fluids in the human breast. The sick cells are removed and examined under a microscope in a bid to detect breast cancer. A biopsy is the only means of determining whether the suspect area in the breast is affected by cancer.
What are the types of breast biopsy?
Various types of breast biopsy procedures are practised. These include fine-needle aspiration biopsy, core needle biopsy, stereotactic biopsy, ultrasound-guided core needle biopsy, MRI-guided core needle biopsy, and surgical biopsy.
The fine-needle aspiration biopsy is the most uncomplicated process that can evaluate a lump which can be felt during a clinical exam. Core needle biopsy may be used for evaluating lumps that are visible on a mammogram or ultrasound scanning. Stereotactic biopsy utilizes mammograms to pinpoint a location of suspicion within the breast.
Ultrasound-guided and MRI-guided core needle biopsy methods are used to guide core needle biopsy processes.
When is it recommended?
A gynaecologist may recommend undergoing a breast biopsy if he or she suspects a lump or thickening of the flesh in the breast. Mammograms and ultrasound or MRI techniques may detect a suspicious finding. Subsequently, patients have to undergo a breast biopsy to confirm the presence (or absence) of cancerous growth in the breast. Doctors and health professionals also recommend the test if conditions such as unusual areolar or nipple changes (such as scaling, crusting, bloody discharge or dimpled skin) are detected.
What are the preparations involved?
Before undergoing the breast biopsy, patients should inform their doctors about any allergies or any consumption of prescribed medication such as aspirin or other blood-thinning tablets. Similarly, doctors must be notified in advance if patients are unable to lie on their stomach for a long stretch of time. When biopsy procedures involve magnetic resonance imaging, doctors must be told if the patient has a cardiac pacemaker or any other electronic device implanted in their body. Also, health professionals must be advised when biopsy candidates are pregnant. These precautions are necessary because an MRI biopsy may not be suitable in these circumstances.
Women that are scheduled to undergo biopsy must wear an excellent supporting brassiere since they may have to hold a cold pack in the biopsy site. The correct undergarment can hold the pack in place and offers the necessary support.
It is worthy to note that multiple breast biopsy procedures may be required to obtain a tissue sample from the patient’s breast. The attending gynaecologist may recommend a particular method based on the size, location, and other individual characteristics of a lump in the breast.
So, you might have to undergo the procedure if recommended by your doctor. Patients can seek a second opinion if sceptical in this regard.