Information on Breast Biopsy

If symptoms in the breast or mammogram may suggest breast cancer, a breast biopsy by removing small pieces of breast tissue from the suspicious area may be necessary to investigate in the lab to see if cancer cells are there. Most biopsy results are not cancer, but biopsies are the only way to get a definite answer if the suspicious area is cancer. There are different types of breast biopsies:

  • Fine needle aspiration: A thin, hollow needle is connected to a syringe to aspirate a tiny amount of tissue or fluid from the area
  • Surgical biopsy: While rare, surgery may be needed to remove an entire mass with surrounding breast tissue
  • Core needle biopsy: The preferred biopsy method, using a larger, hollow needle to sample breast changes that are suspicious
  • Lymph node biopsy: Completed to check the lymph nodes under the arm for the spread of cancer


Breast Biopsy. American Cancer Society. Updated January 14, 2022. Accessed April 28, 2022.

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