ZocdocAnswersWill a breast biopsy determine if I have more than one tumor in my breast?

Question

Will a breast biopsy determine if I have more than one tumor in my breast?

I am a 30 year old female who's detected a lump in her left breast. I have scheduled a doctor's appointment and think they may want to biopsy my breast. My question is whether this will somehow tell them how many tumors I have in that breast if there's more than one.

Answer

A biopsy of the breast (or any tissue for that matter) will provide information only about the area that is biopsied. In the case of a breast biopsy, the biopsy will be reviewed by a pathologist with various different stains under a microscope. This will allow for a determination of whether the tissue is cancerous or benign. If the tissue is cancerous, then further testing can be done more specific to breast tissue, such as testing for the presence or absence of hormonal receptors which determine treatment options. The biopsy will not alert your doctors to the presence of other tumors in the breast. This information will come from imaging studies, such as ultrasound, mammography or MRI; suspicious areas found on imaging are then biopsied to get more information. Please discuss this with your doctor for more details.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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