It may be a few days before the results of a core needle biopsy are available. After the biopsy procedure, your breast tissue is sent to a lab, where a doctor who specializes in analyzing blood and body tissue (pathologist) examines the sample using a microscope and special procedures.
The pathologist prepares a pathology report that is sent to your doctor, who will share the results with you. The pathology report includes details about the size, color and consistency of the tissue samples, the location of the biopsy site, and whether cancer or precancer cells were present.
If your breast biopsy reveals normal results or benign breast change, your doctor will need to see if the radiologist and pathologist agree on the findings. Sometimes the opinions of these two experts differ. For instance, your radiologist may find that your mammogram results suggest breast cancer or precancer, but your pathology report reveals normal breast tissue. In this case, you may need more surgery to obtain more tissue to further evaluate the area.
If your pathology report says that breast cancer is present, it will include information about the cancer itself, such as what type of breast cancer you have and additional information, such as whether the cancer is hormone receptor positive or negative. You and your doctor can then develop a treatment plan that best suits your needs.
Aug. 22, 2013
- Esserman LJ, et al. Breast biopsy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 4, 2013.
- For women facing a breast biopsy. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/treatment/understandingyourdiagnosis/examsandtestdescriptions/forwomenfacingabreastbiopsy/index. Accessed June 4, 2013.
- Having a breast biopsy: A guide for women and their families. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. http://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/index.cfm/search-for-guides-reviews-and-reports/?productid=407&pageaction=displayproduct. Accessed June 4, 2013.
- Ultrasound-guided breast biopsy. RadiologyInfo.org. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=breastbius. Accessed June 4, 2013.
- MRI-guided breast biopsy. RadiologyInfo.org. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=breastbimr. Accessed June 4, 2013.