Biopsy Results -Questions for Your Doctor or Nurse

Biopsy Results

After the biopsy, the pathologist who looked at the tissue will send the pathology report to your doctor. It will tell if the suspicious area is cancer or not. Your doctor will go over the report with you. Waiting for these results can be difficult. It can take about a week to get the results.

If no cancer is found

If no cancer is found, the biopsy result is called benign (be-NINE). Benign means it is not cancer. Some benign results need follow-up or treatment. Talk to your doctor or nurse about what they recommend.

If cancer is found

If cancer is found, the report will tell you the kind of cancer. It will help you and your doctor talk about the next steps. Usually, you will be referred to a breast cancer specialist. You may need more imaging tests or surgery. All this information will help you and your doctor think through your treatment options.

Take time to think. Most women with breast cancer have time to consider their options.

Make sure to ask your doctor if you don’t understand your test results. After going over the results with your doctor, ask for a copy of the pathology report for your records.

Questions for Your Doctor or Nurse

Deciding on a biopsy…

  • What kind of biopsy are you recommending?
  • Why are you recommending this kind of biopsy?
  • Are there any other options?
  • What are the possible side effects from my biopsy?
  • How long will it take?

Preparing for a biopsy…

  • How many days before my biopsy should I stop taking aspirin? Are there other medicines to avoid?
  • Can I have someone in the room with me?
  • Do I need someone to drive me home?
  • Who will give me the results?
  • When will I get the results?

When my biopsy is benign…

  • What kind of follow-up do I need?
  • When should I have my next mammogram?

When my biopsy finds cancer…

  • What are the next steps?
  • What are my options for treatment?
  • Can you tell me about support groups for breast cancer?

Fast Facts

  • Most women who have a breast biopsy do not have breast cancer. About 4 out of every 5 breast biopsies are negative for cancer.
  • For a breast biopsy, a small amount of tissue is taken out. A biopsy tells if a lump or suspicious area is cancer.
  • There are two main kinds of breast biopsies: surgical biopsy and core-needle biopsy.
  • Side effects are less common with core-needle biopsy than with surgical biopsy.