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September 2021

A breast biopsy is a simple procedure in which a small sample of breast tissue is removed and sent to a laboratory for testing. Biopsies are the only way to evaluate if whether a lump or growth is cancerous.

There are several misconceptions and myths regarding breast biopsies. Medical Director, Dr Ong Kong Wee debunks some of the common myths.

Myth: A need for biopsy means I have cancer

A breast biopsy is typically performed to investigate a lump in the breast. The need for a biopsy doesn’t necessarily mean that you have cancer. In fact, most biopsies that are performed do not end up finding cancer. 

Myth: Having a biopsy will cause breast cancer to spread

A biopsy is performed to determine if cancer is present. If the disease spreads, it is not because of the biopsy.

Myth: A breast biopsy is painful

It is a relatively painless procedure. You may feel a slight discomfort in the area where local anaesthesia is administered but you should not feel pain during the biopsy itself.

Myth: A breast biopsy is a risky procedure

Breast biopsies are regarded as low-risk day surgeries, but as it is invasive, one can expect mild discomfort, bruising and swelling around the incision area. Post-surgical infection is a rare complication which can be minimised if you follow your doctor’s instructions.