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June 8, 1994

New Data Suggest Needle Biopsies Could Replace Surgical Biopsy for Diagnosing Breast Cancer

JAMA. 1994;271(22):1724-1728. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510460016006

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ALTHOUGH SURGICAL biopsy is still regarded as the "gold standard" for the diagnosis of breast cancer, new evidence suggests that far less traumatic, costly, and disfiguring needle biopsy procedures may be as reliable.

According to research reported at the American Cancer Society's 36th annual Science Writers Seminar, in Tucson, Ariz, a computerized system for analyzing cells obtained using fine needle aspiration (FNA) may not only provide accurate diagnosis of breast cancer, it also may provide reliable prognostic information without the need for axillary lymph node dissection during mastectomy.

In addition, results of a large multicenter trial were reported at the 19th annual meeting of the Society of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology, in San Diego, Calif, which suggest that percutaneous large-core breast biopsy may become the technique of choice for diagnosing most breast masses.

Fine Needle Aspiration  Surgical biopsies of breast masses usually involve the removal of a large sample of

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