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Breast Cancer

Is it absolutely necessary to have a biopsy

06/16/2008

Question:

Is it absolutely necessary to have a biopsy for pleomorpic calcifications? Since there is only a 15-20% chance that it could be cancerous why bother? Especially since cancer does not run in my family.

Answer:

I would say yes. 15-20% is considered enough to warrant biopsy and often can detect breast cancer at a very early stage where treatment options are simpler. The risk of biopsy is quite small; the risk of delayed diagnosis is greater. Early detection is the reason for mammograms. Family history has little to do with the prediction of disease from a mammogram.

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Response by:

Paula  Silverman, MD Paula Silverman, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University