Breast Biopsies Leave Room for Doubt, Study Finds

“Breast biopsies are good at telling the difference between healthy tissue and cancer, but less reliable for identifying more subtle abnormalities, a new study finds.

“Because of the uncertainty, women whose results fall into the gray zone between normal and malignant — with diagnoses like ‘atypia’ or ‘ductal carcinoma in situ’ — should seek second opinions on their biopsies, researchers say. Misinterpretation can lead women to have surgery and other treatments they do not need, or to miss out on treatments they do need.

“The new findings, reported Tuesday in JAMA, challenge the common belief that a biopsy is the gold standard and will resolve any questions that might arise from an unclear mammogram or ultrasound.”