About Biopsies

Diagnostic tests like biopsies, are used to see whether or not anyone has breast cancer. A sample of cells/tissue is removed from the breast area, usually under the guidance of an ultrasound,  and sent to a laboratory for analysis.  A pathologist examines the cells or tissue to find out whether the breast change is due to breast cancer. The pathology results give the breast specialist much needed information such as the type of cancer, and how advanced or what stage it is.

The information from these tests helps your health professional make important decisions about treatment plans. You may feel anxious at this stage but be reassured by the fact that most tests show no sign of cancer.  Most breast lumps are not cancerous.

There are several types of biopsy, and you may need to have more than one type.

In the doctors or radiology rooms:

Fine needle aspiration
In FNA, a fine needle is inserted into the area of concern or, if there is a lump, directly into the lump. Read more>

Core needle biopsy
A core biopsy is used when the area of concern or lump is solid (that is, not fluid based) and a tissue sample is required. Read more>
Stereotactic core biopsy
This form of biopsy is commonly used for women whose mammograms show calcifications in their breasts. Read more>


In the operating theatre:

Hookwire localisation
This procedure is used when a lump or micro calcifications need to be removed and the area cannot be felt by the surgeon. Read more> 

Open surgical biopsy

An open biopsy may need to be performed if a firm diagnosis has not been made using the other tests. Read More>

Questions to ask after diagnosis
Listed here are some questions to ask your health professional before undergoing your tests. Read more>