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E. Fine Needle Biopsies Regain Popularity

Narrator: This is Science Today. Biopsies are routinely used to identify breast and other cancers. Core and fine needle are the two most widely practiced biopsy techniques in the country. Both procedures use needles to extract samples from the body, but Dr. Britt-Marie Ljung, a pathology professor at the University of California, San Francisco, says the core method is more invasive.

Ljung: Core needle biopsy is a much larger needle that takes a piece of tissue rather than a psydologic sample, which is more like a couple of drops of liquid with cells in it.

Narrator: Ljung says the procedure is painful and can create more stress for patients who are already worried. Fine needle biopsies, she says, are much less traumatic.

Ljung: It's a much smaller needle that can be placed inside of a lump without local anesthesia. It's very much like having a blood test taken. It takes only ten to twenty seconds to collect the sample and so the discomfort is very minimal from having this procedure done.

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