Questions to Ask Before a Breast Biopsy

There are different types of breast biopsies. It is important to understand  the type of biopsy you’ll have and what you can expect during and after the biopsy.

Here are some questions you might want to ask before having a breast biopsy:

  • What type of biopsy do you think I should have? Why?
  • Will the size of my breast affect the way the biopsy is done?
  • Where will you do the biopsy?
  • What exactly will you do?
  • How long will it take?
  • Will I be awake or asleep during the biopsy?
  • Will I need someone to help me get home afterward?
  • If you can’t feel the abnormal area in my breast,, how will you find it?
  • If you are using a guided wire to help find the abnormal area, how will you make sure it’s in the right place (with ultrasound or a mammogram)?
  • Can you draw pictures showing me the size of the cut and the amount of the tissue you will remove?
  • Will I have a hole there? Will it show afterward?
  • Will my breast have a different shape or look different afterward?
  • Will you put a clip or marker in my breast?
  • Where will the scar be? What will it look like?
  • Will I have bruising or changes in the color of my skin? If so, how long will it last?
  • Will I be sore? If so, how long will it last?
  • When can I take off the bandage?
  • When can I take a shower?
  • Will I have stitches? Will they dissolve or will I need to come back to the office and have them removed?
  • When can I go back to work? How will I feel when I do?
  • Will my activities be limited? Can I lift things? Care for my children?
  • How soon will I know the biopsy results?
  • Should I call you or will you call me with the results?
  • Will you or someone else explain the biopsy results to me?

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master’s-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: June 1, 2016 Last Revised: August 18, 2016

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