Regardless of which biopsy
approach is performed, after the sample is removed it is a few days wait for
the pathology report.
Waiting is a difficult part
of this experience. Many health centers recommend the use of complementary therapies
to allay some of the pain and anxiety.
Hypnosis, for example,
has been shown to be helpful. Several doctors from Mount Sinai School of
Medicine in New York City studied 20 women who were scheduled to receive
breast biopsies. The patients were assigned to either a hypnosis group or
a non-hypnosis group. The researchers found that the hypnosis group had
considerably less pain, less anxiety and were more satisfied with the procedure. You
can visit the Washington
Post web site to read an article Hypnosis Eases Pain of Breast Cancer Surgery, for more details.
Some helpful things to
consider before and after the biopsy may help ease the tension of waiting
for the biopsy results.
- This biopsy is most
likely to be considered a non-emergency test by the labs performing
the tests. This fact can be frustrating and infuriating. Save yourself
some anguish by confirming when results are expected and who
to contact for the news before leaving the center
or biopsy location. Most often, the provider who originally ordered the
mammogram and/or did a physical exam will be
contacted to communicate results with the patient.
- If possible, choose
a center that has a policy that works for you. A high quality center, or
perhaps a University center may make you feel more confident that the newest
information and equipment is being used.
- Ask questions. If you
are given information that you don't understand, ask to speak to a physician
or other licensed personnel for more background on what has been said.
When you sign in for any test, be sure to write the names, addresses and
phone #s of all doctors and nurse practitioners that you want to receive
a copy of the result. The better your address information, the more likely
the test results will arrive.
- Allow time - at least
a week - before calling to say that you were told results would be known
already. It's possible that some results need to be discussed between physicians
or understood only with more background information.
- Avoid phone tag. Make
an appointment for receiving the results via phone call.
- Make it clear that you
want to know the results, even if everything's OK. Some providers automatically
consider that you only want to be contacted if the results are unfavorable.
Offices are busy, communication is challenging. Be polite but persevere.
- Keep records. Make a
habit of asking for copies of all tests performed. When phoning for information,
write down the names of everyone you talk to, the date and time. If you
don't immediately understand someone's name, ask them to repeat it; even
spell it. It's helpful to all if it's clear that you care who you are talking
to and will remember him or her.
- When calling large centers,
especially where your call is forwarded, sometimes several times, ask for
the specific number you should call back, should you get disconnected.
How many times have you been forwarded to another number and then been
This content will be reviewed or retired by 12/2019