Biopsy for Male Breast Cancer
When physical examination and imaging tests, including mammogram and ultrasound show concerning changes in the breast, a biopsy is done. A sample of tissue is taken from the breast during the biopsy. The tissue is then examined by a pathologist who is a trained doctor for diagnosing the disease. He then determines whether the cells are cancerous or not.
Various methods of biopsy are present including
Fine Needle Aspiration
A tiny needle is inserted into the suspicious breast area by the doctor during the procedure. The lump is aspirated to withdraw cells or fluids, and the extracted material is placed on a slide so that it can be examined via a microscope by the pathologist. This biopsy does not take up a lot of time, and you feel discomfort for merely a few seconds.
Core Needle Biopsy
This method is opted for if a larger tissue sample is needed by the pathologist, which cannot be extracted via fine-needle aspiration. Another reason for using this method could be that a definitive diagnosis could not be reached with the tissue obtained via fine-needle aspiration. A local anesthetic is needed for this biopsy. A large hollow needle is inserted into the breast, and a one-inch long thin cylinder of tissue is removed and forwarded to the pathologist for further examination and analysis.
Sometimes, the suspicious area cannot be felt. In this case, imaging techniques are used by radiologists so that biopsy can be done. Ultrasound, stereotactic mammographic imaging, and MRI are some of the methods used. The suitable imaging technique to be used depends on the abnormality and what would help most in visualizing it.
This is the method of choice when all other biopsy options fail in providing a definitive diagnosis. It could also be that the suspicious area is too deep or shallow, and thus core needle biopsy cannot be performed.
In case the surgeon is unable to feel the suspicious area, a radiologist steps in, inserting a thin wire or seed, which is a small radioactive marker into the breast. This process is called needle or seed localization and is done with the help of imaging techniques like ultrasound, mammography, or MRI. This method makes it easier for the surgeon to get the right area for biopsy.
Although surgical biopsy is done in an operating room, one does not have to stay in the hospital room overnight for it. The patient is not given general anesthesia during the procedure and is instead provided with twilight sedation. During the procedure, either the whole suspicious breast tissue is removed, or a small sample of it is taken for analysis after making a small incision on the breast.