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Cancer Advice - from leading UK Cancer Specialists
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Diagnosis of breast cancer

The "Undiagnosed" breast lump
The "Undiagnosed" breast lump
The biopsy or assessment of the sample cells is needed to confirm a diagnosis of breast cancer. Fine needle aspiration of cytology (FNAC) involves inserting a hollow needle into the abnormal breast lump and aspirating abnormal cells so that they can be analysed under the microscope. This can be performed either by Outpatients or using an ultrasound or mammography. If the cytology assessment confirms cancer then the patient proceeds to staging and appropriate therapy for their stage. There can be a non diagnostic result from FNAC and a formal surgical biopsy is then required of the abnormal area of the breast. The breast lump may require localisation by mammography and identification by a guide wire placed at mammography before a biopsy is attempted.

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