Buddy Check: Explaining Biopsies

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

If a patient develops a breast lump or other breast change, it may be necessary to have a biopsy. That's a procedure that removes a sample of cells or tissue from the breast to be tested.

There are two different types of biopsies. One is the needle biopsy. The other type is the open surgical biopsy.

"We do it here. The biopsy is done through a small skin nick. A stitch isn't even needed," said interventional radiologist, Dr. John Blackwell of Riley Hospital. "We just put a bandage over the incision. But that isn't the right thing to do for all patients though. Some patients need a surgical biopsy, where a surgeon will make a large incision, go in and actually incise the tissue."

However just because an abnormality is found and a biopsy is ordered, that doesn't mean the patient has breast cancer.

"The vast number of biopsies we perform come back negative, benign. It's part of normal aging of the breast," Blackwell said.

One thing Blackwell reminds the public about is how important the self breast exam is to the early detection of breast cancer.

To receive a monthly self breast exam reminder and a newsletter full of helpful information about breast cancer, click on the link below to reach the sign up page.

And please remind your friends and family to conduct their self breast exam each month.

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