Classification of Breast Cancer Malignancy Using FNA Biopsies

The classification of breast cancer is a vitally important issue for any woman facing a breast cancer diagnosis. Classification indicates what type of breast cancer it is and affects treatment decisions and long-term survival rates. A fine needle aspiration specialist is an expert at performing and interpreting an FNA biopsy which helps make an early and correct diagnosis, thus speeding up the time between diagnosis and treatment.
Breast cancers are classified by type, grade, stage, lymph node status and receptor status. DNA classification can also be important.
Histopathological type has to do with the type of breast cancer, usually coming from the original source of the breast cancer cells.
Grade is a comparison of the features of cancer cells to normal breast tissue. Cancer cells progressively lose the features of normal cells (become less differentiated). High grade or poorly differentiated cancers have a worse prognosis.
Staging refers to how far the cancer spread from its origin. The higher the stage, the worse the prognosis. Staging is done in light of how large the actual tumor is, how many lymph nodes have been invaded by cancer, and whether the breast cancer has spread (metastasized) to more distant areas like bones or the liver.
Receptors are where chemical messengers like hormones bind to and cause changes in the cells. Breast cancer cells may be receptive to hormones like estrogen and progesterone, which can affect treatment strategies.
DNA in the cancer cells can show the presence of genetic mutations, which can guide treatment or help identify which treatments are most likely to be effective.
An FNA biopsy is one of the choices for making a breast cancer diagnosis and it can make breast cancer classification faster. It is a quick, relatively simple, and typically less expensive way than other strategies like an open biopsy. An interventional pathologist is a fine needle aspiration specialist that can perform the test in her office She can immediately examine the cells under a microscope to determine if the sample is adequate for diagnosis. Once an adequate sample of cells has been taken, the cells are further examined in the lab for a diagnosis, and the results are often available soon afterward. In fact, an FNA biopsy can often deliver an answer within a day or two. Additionally, the procedure does not require extensive preparation, and down time is not usually necessary. This makes this procedure an ideal option compared to more invasive biopsies.

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Celina Nadelman, M.D.

1125 S. Beverly Drive #602
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Call us: 310.702.6701