When a woman needs a biopsy, these are some questions she may want to ask her doctor:
- What type of biopsy will I have? Why?
- How long will it take? Will I be awake? Will it hurt?
- How soon will I know the results?
- If I do have cancer, who will talk with me about treatment? When?
When Cancer Is Found
When cancer is found, the pathologist can tell what kind of cancer it is (whether it began in a duct or a lobule) and whether it is invasive (has invaded nearby tissues in the breast).
Special lab tests of the tissue help the doctor learn more about the cancer. For example, hormone receptor tests (estrogen and progesterone receptor tests) can help predict whether the cancer is sensitive to hormones. Positive test results mean hormones help the cancer grow, and the cancer is likely to respond to hormonal therapy. More information about hormonal therapy can be found in the Treatment section. Other lab tests are sometimes done to help the doctor predict whether the cancer is likely to grow slowly or quickly. The doctor may order x-rays and blood tests. The doctor may also do special exams of the bones, liver, or lungs because breast cancer may spread to these areas.