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Aust N Z J Surg. 1996 Sep;66(9):592-4.

Diagnosis of breast cancer with core-biopsy and fine needle aspiration cytology.

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  • 1Professorial Department of Surgery, City Hospital, Nottingham, England.



Patients who are elderly or who have locally advanced breast cancer may initially receive primary medical therapy.


In order to avoid open biopsy in such patients, we routinely perform both fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) and core-biopsy at the first clinic visit.


A retrospective review showed that of 109 such patients, 87 (80%) had the diagnosis confirmed on FNAC and 96 (88%) on core-biopsy. Only eight patients did not have a diagnostic result from the first clinic visit, and five of these patients were diagnosed on a repeat core-biopsy or FNAC. The remaining three patients had suspicious FNAC. Overall 97% had one or both investigations positive.


When considered alone core-biopsy was superior to FNAC. In this series the combined diagnostic approach of FNAC and core-biopsy has allowed outpatient diagnosis for virtually all patients.

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