breast biopsy is a procedure in which part or all of a suspicious breast growth is removed and examined, usually for the presence of cancer. The growth sample is suctioned out through a needle or cut out using a surgical procedure. The sample is then examined and evaluated under a microscope by a pathologist to identify non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant) tissue.

Words used to refer to the abnormal area or growth before and after diagnosis may include lump, mass, lesion, and tumor.

What is the purpose of a breast biopsy?

The basic aim of a breast biopsy is to determine whether or not a worrisome lump is cancer and, if it is cancer, what type it is.


Biopsy Results

Malignant:Cancer cells are present.

Normal:No abnormal or cancer cells are present. Noncancerous (benign) problems include fluid-filled fibrocystic lumps, and firm tumors (fibroadenomas). Fibroadenomas may be either taken out or left in but checked closely. They do not go away, but they are not likely to become cancer
Abnormal:Other noncancerous problems include growths of fat tissue (lipoma); scar tissue with calcium (calcification); an abscess; too much growth of cells (called atypical ductal hyperplasia, or ADH); or changes in the breast tissue cells called columnar alteration with prominent snouts and secretions (CAPSS). If ADH is present, an open biopsy is needed to make sure there is no cancer.

The results of most biopsies will be available within a few days. Sometimes special testing must be performed, and the results may take a bit longer. Your breast specialist will be able to give you the approximate time frame that the result will be available.


We perform breast biopsies in our office for your convenience.



Note: The information on this Web site is provided as general health guidelines and may not be applicable to your particular health condition. Your individual health status and any required medical treatments can only be properly addressed by a professional healthcare provider of your choice. Remember: There is no adequate substitution for a personal consultation with your physician. Neither the National Breast Center, or any of their affiliates, nor any contributors shall have any liability for the content or any errors or omissions in the information provided by this Web site.

The information, content and artwork provided by this Web site is intended for non-commercial use by the reader. The reader is permitted to make one copy of the information displayed for his/her own non-commercial use.