What is an FNA breast biopsy?

In an FNA biopsy, the doctor uses a very thin, hollow needle attached to a syringe to withdraw (aspirate) a small amount of tissue or fluid from a suspicious area. The biopsy sample is then checked to see if there are cancer cells in it

What does an FNA show?

A doctor called a pathologist will look at the biopsy tissue or fluid to find out if there are cancer cells in it.

  1. If the fluid is clear, the lump is most likely a cyst, and not cancer.
  2. Bloody or cloudy fluid can mean either a cyst that’s not cancer or, very rarely, cancer.
  3. If the lump is solid, the doctor will pull out small pieces of tissue.
  4. The main advantages of FNA are that the skin doesn’t have to be cut, so no stitches are needed and there is usually no scar. Also, in some cases it’s possible to make the diagnosis the same day.
  5. An FNA biopsy is the easiest type of biopsy to have, but it can sometimes miss a cancer if the needle does not go into the cancer cells. Even if an FNA does find cancer, there may not be enough cancer cells to do some of the other lab tests that are needed.
  6. If the results of the FNA biopsy do not give a clear diagnosis, or your doctor still has concerns, you might need to have a second biopsy or a different type of biopsy.