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All Posts in Category: Breast cancer biopsy

Stereotactic Breast Biopsy: Minimally Invasive Cancer Screening Care

In the fight against breast cancer, it may be reassuring to know that they are many effective screening tests in regular use today. When a routine mammogram detects an abnormality, including calcifications within the breast, your doctor may order a biopsy to further aid in diagnosis.

Which Biopsy For My Situation?

There are different types of breast biopsies, and your doctor will choose the biopsy best suited for your care. Generally the type of biopsy used depends on whether a lump can be felt, or if a previous mammogram showed a change within the breast. In many cases, however, a minimally invasive stereotactic breast biopsy may be utilized for its many benefits.

A stereotactic biopsy is an x-ray based, image-guided process that assists the doctor in pinpointing the area of concern, from which a small tissue sample is collected for examination and final diagnosis.

What Can I Expect?

When making your appointment for a biopsy, it’s always a good idea to ask how long the procedure is expected to take. As with any procedure, it may be comforting to have a friend or family member accompany you to the appointment and wait for you until the procedure is completed. For the procedure you’ll either lie down or sit upright, depending on the imaging equipment used.

Just like a mammogram, on the day of the biopsy don’t wear perfume, deodorant, lotion, or put anything else on your skin. This is so the imaging equipment will be able to accurately view the area of concern. A numbing agent will be used on the breast area so you won’t feel any pain. Again just like a mammogram, the breast is compressed between two plates to x-ray the targeted area. A small tissue sample is then taken for examination.

How Soon Can I Go Home?

A stereotactic breast biopsy is a minimally invasive procedure, so unlike surgical biopsies that require an overnight stay, you are able to go home shortly after the procedure is finished. Once home, you may want to take it easy for 24 hours. Your doctor will provide additional self-care instructions as needed, as well as provide biopsy results once they are available. At all times, you are encouraged to ask as many questions as needed to fully understand the procedure, as well as what to expect both during and after.

Providing complete breast cancer screening, surgery and treatment services, Dr. Joseph Levan, Dr. Robert Howard and Dr. Thomas Beetel of Spring Ridge Surgical Specialists perform stereotactic breast biopsies at Reading Health System, and Penn State Health St. Joseph. Each of our surgeons take pride in making certain patients fully understand their care, and options available to them. If you have any questions pertaining to breast cancer care, please contact Spring Ridge Surgical Specialists at 610.375.0500.

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The Latest on Breast Cancer Awareness

Post written by Dr. Robert J. Howard, D.O., F.A.C.S.
Spring Ridge Surgical Specialists

October is “Breast Cancer Awareness” month and a good time to think about good breast health in general. Over the last 10 years there has been a significant increase in the amount of awareness in the general community. All you have to do is turn on the TV to see the pink spikes on NFL football players or watch the news reporting on one of the multiple runs or walks for the cure. These events coupled with some high profile celebrities discussing their own private battles with breast cancer have lead to more media coverage as well.

For the most part this has been very positive, however, there are still many misconceptions about breast care and breast cancer screening. In our office, we see many women come in with an “abnormal mammogram” and I am surprised how many are not aware that an abnormal mammogram DOES NOT necessarily mean you have breast cancer. In fact, less than 15% of women with an abnormal mammogram will be diagnosed with breast cancer. During a typical appointment we will review the mammogram images with our patients and present multiple options to make an accurate diagnosis in a minimally invasive manner.  Sometimes that may even include performing an ultrasound guided needle biopsy on the day of the first appointment.

Over the past ten years the treatment and diagnosis of breast cancer has improved significantly. With improved imaging we are able to diagnose smaller, early stage cancers and perform biopsies with a needle in a mostly painless manner. Often those biopsies can be performed during the initial consultation. With the advent of sentinel lymph node biopsy, we are now able to sample the lymph nodes with almost zero risk of a complication called lymphedema, or arm swelling which was very common and debilitating in the past. Improved radiation techniques mean less problems with skin irritation which was prominent in the past as well. Vast improvements in genetic testing and the implications of that testing allow us to make much more informed decisions about care and determine overall prognosis for the future.

There is still a long way to go, but significant progress has been made and the future is bright for continued improvements. As our knowledge of the genetic basis of breast cancer evolves, so do our chances of eliminating the disease completely. In the mean time, the best treatment is early detection. Monthly self breast exams and yearly mammograms when age appropriate will help identify most breast cancers. Then, evaluation by a physician with experience and knowledge of breast cancer is the key.  At Spring Ridge Surgical Specialists we take pride in our ability to present the latest information about breast cancer in an easy to understand manner.  Our job is to make sure our patients are informed so they have the ability to choose the treatment that makes them feel comfortable and confident. In conjunction with regional cancer centers, we provide the most advanced treatment options available. Hopefully you will never need our services, but if you do, you can rest assured you will be well informed and treated in a very caring and compassionate manner from diagnosis to cure.

– Spring Ridge Surgical Specialists –

If you have additional questions about breast cancer care would like to make an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Howard, you can request an appointment online by clicking here, or call our office at 610.375.0500.

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