Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy, Core Needle Biopsy or Excision Biopsy to Diagnose Breast Cancer - Which is the Ideal Method?


Background: The ideal method for diagnosis of breast cancer is debatable.
Methods: The methods of diagnosisof 436 new cases of breast adenocarcinoma presenting from Jan 2005 till Dec 2006 at the University MalayaMedical Centre (UMMC) were examined in this study.
Results: A total of 388 cases presented to the breast unitin UMMC primarily and 48 cases were diagnosed in non-breast units in other hospitals and referred formanagement. Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) was the commonest mode of initial diagnosisis in 278cases followed by core needle biopsy and surgical excision. In UMMC, FNAC was the commonest initial method(68.3%) compared to cases diagnosed outside UMMC, where 37.5% of cases were diagnosed by excision. Tumoursless than 2cm were more likely to be diagnosed by excision biopsy.
Conclusion: The biopsy method used toconfirm the diagnosis is influenced by where the patient first presents, and by the size of the tumour.