core biopsy

I had an appointment at a one stop clinic today. My sister died 17 years ago with bc and i am a high risk. I have been getting mammograms for the last 17 yrs through the genetic clinic and was recalled just last week. The letter said that it was most likely a shadow but had to be checked because of my family history. I received a core mammogram and had an ultrasound with a biopsy and although the lump! which i cannot feel didn;t look suspicious as the radiographer told me there was still some abnormal cells tho the consultant said that the cells were more normal than abnormal!! this did not make sense to me!! I have to go for a core biopsy!! i am worried senseless about this and have to wait for an appointment to come through! i don’t know what to expect if cells are abnormal is this malignant cells or pre cancerous cells. I know that i should have asked these questions when at the clinic but after i was told that there were some abnormal cells i seemed to be in a dase and can’t remember much!!

I was told my fine needle aspiration result was C3 - no idea what this meant and I thought I was told that I needed a cone biopsy, not a core biopsy so I wondered why I needed a sample of my cervix. C3 when you look it up on the internet means that you probably don’t have cancer but there is a possibility of it, so maybe that’s the result you got. I think they find some abnormal cells but it’s the proportion of them that is crucial.

There’s a scale from atypical hyperplasia ie abnormal cells and too many of them, through DCIS/LCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ/lobular carcinoma in situ) - a lot more abnormal cells but still in the duct/lobe, through to IDC and LDC (invasive ductal and lobular cancers).

I wish someone had explained it all to me but I was too anxious to ask and the doctor I saw didn’t look particularly keen to explain.


When I had my fine needle aspiration, they knew there were malignant cells present and I had to have a core biopsy too. This is just so they can get a bigger piece of tissue to examine. Abnormal cells don’t mean malignant and may not even mean pre cancerous - a benign growth can show up as abnormal but never go on to be cancer. Abnormal simply means not typical breast cells.

Hi Cathy,Yes i was told that mine was tubular cancer grade 1 a 6mmlump.I couldn’t feel it,the specialst said because it was grade 1 there isn’t much difference between normal cells and abnormal.I had the lump removed ,radiotheraphy and Arimed to be taken for 5yrs.Hope you get the very best of results and the waiting for results not to long, as the waiting seems to be the worst part.take care and please let us know how you go onxx

Sorry that last post was for Lol2705

Hi lol2705 and welcome to the forums,

I can see you have received lots of support here already, in addition you may find it helpful to call our helpline where you will be able to talk to someone in confidence about the concerns you have. Our helpline is on 0808 800 6000 Mon-Fri 9-5 and Sat 9-2.

Best wishes

Thank you to everybody who replied to me. I got it wrong in my message i had a cone mammogram and have to go for a core biopsy!! all these words with letters are confusing. It would be nice to have had somebody to come into the consultation with you as you tend to forget what was said and as the doctors are dealing with this all the time they seem to take it for granted what they tell you. I was stunned to be honest and my consultant asked i had read the leaflet that was handed to me when i arrived (it was about a breast trial survey) and if i would be keen to take part and of course i said yes so she just left the room and i had to wait for the nurse to come and explain things to me and she was so cheerful sayin what a nice day it was and that i would be happy to be going home to enjoy the rest of the day. To be honest i couldn’t get out of the hospital quick enough i felt sick.
I find the waiting game awful i am trying to keep busy but i am so tired as i have not slept since the recall and now having to wait for an appointment to come through and then wait for the result will probably take another month!!

I’m afraid it is the worst part The waiting game and theres nothing you can do.I like you kept busy cleaned everywhere,from top to bottom,went for walks.put a piece of paper at the side of the bed and write down any questions you may think of at the silly hours of the night.once you have your results there will be a breast cancer nurse who can go through them with you,they are very good and no question that they can’t answer.She should pass you a bible of soughts that have all the when you canxxxxx

Thanks what a good idea to keep a piece of paper at your bedside as that is when my mind is going over time.
Did you have any history of breast cancer in your family? you said that you like me did not feel a lump, was it found through a routine mammogram? My sister was only 29 when she had her cancer and died at 32 her children were only 6 and 4 at the time.her daughter, my niece is so worried that i will have bc also. I try to tell her that there have been so much more advances in treatment in the past 17 years since her mother died. but i guess that if i am honest that is where my thoughts lie with my sister and what she went through as this is my families only dealing with bc. i am trying to think positive though as i know that being all doom and gloom won’t help me. I have 3 sons aged 20, 17 and 14 and i have to be positive for them. My husband left 2 years ago and i do find it hard and save my tears for bedtime when on my own.xx

Hi Lol.No I don’t have a history of BC in the family.It sounds as though they have kept a really good check on you.This is why the site can help you.You can let all your feelings out on here,leaving you to be there for your children.I’m sure your thoughts are with your sister but you are so right that the advancement treating this dammed disease has improved,they can do so much now.As I said my cells were classed as nearly normal so thankful that it was caught early.I have been positive through out even when I was DX that I wouldn’t get rid of it.I think there is a high factor of stress being one of the factors of BC and the fact that your husband left you may have contributed to it.Is there anyone who can go with you next time they can be your ears and pick up things you may miss.I was treated at Stepping Hill and Manchester Christies,I also said i’m not going to be doom and gloom and thought to myself I’m not going to worry as it won’t go away worrying about it ( yes it was easier said than done sometimes )but intended to use that energy for my family,my Husband had a double lung transplant 5yrs ago and my daughter who is nearly 23.
You take that paper in with you and ask them questions nothing sounds silly to the breast cancer team.I really wish you the best of results please let me know .xx

Hi Lol
Like Walton I was diagnosed following mammo in June this year, had a recall for 4th july when i had another mammo, ultra sound and core biopsy. The chap doing the ultra sound said that it needed to come out. Returned the following week to be told it was tubular cancer.Wide Local Excision and removal of 6 lymph nodes at the end of july, followed by 15 sessions of radiotherapy and Arimidex. Now all done and dusted and getting on with life.

All the staff whereever I have been were lovely to me and very understanding.

All the best

Thanks Eleanor, i tried to set up a face book but i am not very good on the computer my friend from Americal sent me one. my address is it would be good to keep in touch. You have certainly had stress yourself what with your husband going through his lung transplant. I hope he is doing well. And a daughter of 21 to keep you going too!!
I have been reading through this forum and have been touched by everybodies individual experience of bc. It does seem that friends have been made through this site.
Thanks for your correspondence try me on face book and i will see if i manage a reply!!
P.S still no word of my appointment for the core biopsy.X

Hi Kharga, am glad that you are doing well. Thanks for adding your comment. I guess you didn’t feel a lump either? That is what i find strange that i can’t feel anything yet the mammogram and ultra sound picked it up and that it is so superficial just under my skin at top of my breast. I can’t stopp poking at the area now to see if it is growing. I was told that it would take 3 weeks to get my results however i guess if it is cancer that i would be recalled sooner to be started on treatment. How often do you have to go back for checkups now?
Still waiting for my core biopsy appointment to come through have been trying the x-ray dept but no reply so left a message on answer machine i will take any cancellation. Like i say the waiting game is awful.

Take care x

Sorry Lucy. No problem x

Can i ask what whisper back means? x

Hi Lol.If you put my Name in the Send private message ,then write your message as normal only i will get your email name and adress

got my appointment through for the core biopsy thursday 9am said could take upto an hour and a half is this right?


I had a core biopsy and it didn’t take anything like an hour and a half. Maybe they are including waiting time and giving you the local anaesthetic etc. Once they got started the whole thing took about 10 minutes. Once the local was in I didn’t feel a thing - just a noise like a staple gun going off! It’s really not too bad, so don’t worry - although I know that’s easy to say. I’ve also had a cone biopsy where I laid face down on a table with my boob through a hole in the table, the table is then raised up and the doctor sits underneath you! Once again after the local anaesthetic I didn’t feel it at all. The longest bit was the nurses trying to get me comfortable on the table before the doctor began. He removed a piece of tissue which they tested immediately in a thing like a microwave and told me it was just calcification - this was 3 years ago, before my dx this June.

Yes I think it must be waiting time as mine only took about 10mins though was there waiting for about 90mins.Good luck for thursdayxxx

Hi Lol

As far as I’m aware there are two different types of core biopsies - the one described by redders and walton, and another which is called “stereotactic core biopsy”. I had both. I had the same experience too as redders and walton for the first kind. The breast care nurse was lovely, held my hand, and seemed very nervous about its being painful for me, but it was absolutely fine - my needle biopsy had hurt much more. The hosp probably is just including waiting time etc.

Due to inconclusive results from that I ended up having to have a stereotactic core biopsy and this took what was probably 30 mins. I did find this a painful and miserable experience. Doing it again, I would take paracetemol beforehand as taking it afterwards had an immediate pain relieving effect, and I would insist on a foot-rest (they had me uncomfortably tilted forwards so that my arms got exhausted trying to hold myself upright). I think those two simple changes would have made it much better.

What I would also say to you is that I still look back at that pre-diagnosis stage as one of the worst parts of bc and I really feel for you - it’s a terrible time. Until they diagnose bc there is everything to hope for that it won’t be. I used to say to myself “what’s going to happen’s going to happen” which would calm me for a little while.

Take care, I’ll be thinking of you and hoping all fine, E x