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COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT BREAST CANCER: WHAT KIND OF BIOPSIES ARE AVAILABLE?
Several types of biopsies can be performed, some of them on an outpatient basis (a needle biopsy, for example). Others are more complicated and require a longer recovery time. Ask your doctor which procedure will be performed, and determine whether a simpler procedure could provide the same results.
If your doctor is fairly certain that the lump is cancerous, he or she may suggest a biopsy at the time of the surgery to remove the tumor. This is called a one-step procedure, because the biopsy is performed right on the operating table. In most cases, however, the doctor will recommend a two-step procedure. The biopsy is performed first, and the surgery later if it is indicated. The pathologist thus has more time to examine the biopsied tissue carefully before a decision is made. You as patient also have more time to consider what kind of surgical procedure is acceptable.