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Breast Cancer Diagnosis: Surgery or Needle Biopsy?

Posted Oct 14 2009 12:00am
The October issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons contains a special report from a recent conference examining the best procedure for breast cancer diagnosis.  A recent press release presented some of the information discussed in the paper. 

The consensus opinion from this conference was that needle biopsies are the best procedure to use for initial breast cancer diagnosis and should be the "gold standard".  Comparing needle biopsy to open surgery to remove a biopsy, the needle biopsy is minimally invasive, requires only local anesthesia, generally only results in some bruising, usually does not leave a scar, and is substantially less expensive.  Despite this, the press release indicates that 35% of initial diagnosis is done with open surgery.

Considering that needle biopsies provide detailed information on the breast tumor and that open surgical techniques carry a greater risk of complications, it is very surprising that so many open surgical procedures are still being done.  If you find any abnormalities during your routine self-examinations or yearly mammograms and it needs to be tested for breast cancer, it would be a good idea to discuss needle biopsies with your physician.

Of course, following a healthy lifestyle can reduce your breast cancer risk.  To learn more, read my book Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer at
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