March 12, 2010, Newsletter Issue #120: When the Doctor Says You Need A Breast Biopsy

Tip of the Week

If detecting a lump in your breast isn't alarming enough, being sent for a breast biopsy is! The first thing you should understand when your doctor says the words “breast biopsy” is about 75% of all biopsies are benign, or non-cancerous. The second thing you need to understand is what type of biopsy will be performed. Ask your doctor to explain the procedure and how you should prepare for your breast biopsy. It's a good idea to refrain from taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory medication a couple weeks before the biopsy because those types of medicines will increase bleeding and bruising. There are three main types of breast cancer biopsies: fine needle aspiration, core needle biopsy or a small incision (or surgery). If you are having a surgical breast biopsy, have a friend or relative drive you to the surgery center and back home again because you will be under anesthesia during surgery. It's also a good idea to have someone accompany you to a needle biopsy just for moral support. You won't know the final result of the biopsy until the pathologist's report comes back which can sometimes take a few days so it's just nice to have someone in the waiting room to talk to and drive home with. Remember: a breast biopsy doesn't mean you have cancer; it is simply a screening method to ensure that you don't.

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