Breast care is an important part of health and wellness for women. At Memorial Hermann, we are dedicated to providing specialized care with high quality exams and screening procedures for a variety of your breast-health needs.
If your physician has recommended a breast biopsy, you may have questions or concerns. Memorial Hermann-affiliated physicians deliver comprehensive, compassionate care and take the time to answer your questions and work with you to determine the right treatment plan for you.
It is important to remember that needing to have a breast biopsy does not mean that you have cancer. Most of the time, breast biopsy results are benign (not cancerous). If your physician finds an area of concern in your breast, a biopsy will give you a definite result. If cancer is detected during a breast biopsy, your physician can create a personalized treatment plan designed to achieve the best possible outcome for you.
A breast biopsy is a test that removes tissue or fluid from a suspicious area in the breast to determine if it is benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). When cells are removed from the breast, they are examined under a microscope by a pathologist in a laboratory. A biopsy is the only way to determine whether or not a breast lump is cancerous.
If your annual screening mammogram, ultrasound, or physical breast exam detects a lump of suspicious mass, a breast biopsy will need to be performed in order to determine if it is cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign).
As women get older, sometimes tiny bits of calcium build up in their breasts. These are called calcifications. They are found in about half of all women over the age of 50, and are not necessarily dangerous by themselves. Calcifications will show up as bright white spots on a diagnostic mammogram, almost like little pieces of chalk dust.
Though they are usually benign, calcifications may be a sign of breast cancer if arranged in certain patterns, like a tight cluster or a line. A breast biopsy will need to be performed on the area in order to give an accurate diagnosis.
Don't panic! Just because you need a breast biopsy does not necessarily mean you have breast cancer. In fact, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 80% of women who undergo a breast biopsy do not have breast cancer. The only way to know for sure is through a biopsy, and wouldn't you rather have the facts instead of spending your time worrying?
Unfortunately, in order to know the full status, staging, and proper course of treatment for your condition, this isn't an exam you'll be able to skip. The good news is that breast biopsies are considered a standard type of breast cancer treatment and should be covered by insurance.
Some patients may decide to seek out a second opinion either before or after they have undergone a breast biopsy. Most health plans cover second opinions as well, provided they are conducted by an in-network health care provider. As always, it's a good idea to confirm the extent of coverage with your insurance provider before scheduling.
In most cases, no preparation is needed before a breast biopsy. Please bring a CD of your prior studies if your prior breast health studies were performed outside of Memorial Hermann. If you need us to request your prior films from another facility, please complete a medical release of information form and return it to our facility prior to your appointment. Once received, we will request the films. Comparison with prior imaging is key to assessing for change and accurate diagnosis. Otherwise, you should prepare for a breast biopsy the same as you would for a standard breast exam:
Complete the form below to be connected to our Nurse Navigator – a dedicated registered nurse who specializes in breast health and is available to provide education and resources.