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C. Fine Needle Biopsies Have Several Uses

Narrator: This is Science Today. Fine needle biopsies can help detect breast cancer by using a thin needle to extract tissue samples from the body. But Doctor Britt Marie Ljung, a researcher at the University of California San Francisco, says with proper training, physicians can use these biopsies in other situations as well.

Ljung: This technique can be used on lumps in any part of the body, and that includes lymph nodes in the neck, various types of tumors in salivary glands and so forth.

Narrator: Ljung says doctors need to perform at least 100 biopsies to truly master the procedure, but once they do, it can be a cheap way to find cancer in much of the body.

Ljung: The technique is essentially the same for all different organ systems, so it makes good sense to have one or a couple of practitioners in the medical community who have been trained in both aspects of sampling. They can serve the patients in all of these areas - that way you can make economic sense out of training people for this.

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