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B. An Important Tool in Breast Cancer Detection

Narrator: This is Science Today. Fine needle biopsies were once widely used in doctor's offices to detect breast cancer until questions about their accuracy led to a decline in popularity. But Doctor Britt-Marie Ljung, a pathology professor at the University of California, San Francisco conducted a recent study finding that with proper training, the procedure can, in fact, be effective.

Ljung: With no training at all, you can actually get diagnostic samples in about fifty percent of cases. Although if I were a patient, I wouldn't be happy with that. That fifty-fifty chance is not good enough. To get over ninety-five, you really need to be an expert at doing this.

Narrator: Ljung's office is already reporting up to 95 percent accuracy using the low-cost procedure, which she says is less invasive than other techniques and allows patients to receive a quick diagnosis.

Ljung: We can usually also issue a preliminary diagnosis at the time of the visit which, particularly for the eighty or ninety percent of patients who have benign disease, it's a very nice message to get that quickly.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.