If your breast cancer biopsy had a negative reading, you still want to find out what that means exactly. Ask your doctor: “How do you deal with women who have negative biopsies that don’t show any cancer, only normal tissue?” Pathologist Dr. Edward Uthman explains the importance of asking this question. “The problem is not so much the positive diagnosis of cancer, but when the biopsy is negative . . . I’ve learned from experience that some people have to be nagged—it’s especially true for a negative biopsy. When I get tissue that doesn’t have any cancer, there are some pathologists who say, OK, negative biopsy or normal tissue, next case.
“But the first things I want to know are:
• Where did you have this needle?
• What did this lesion look like?
• Was it palpable?
• Were you expecting to see totally normal breast tissue?
• What are you going to do now that it’s totally normal breast tissue but you’ve called this abnormal on the radiogram? On the mammogram?
“If the doctor says, ‘Well, if it’s negative, I don’t worry about it. Get a mammogram in six months.’ To me, that would be evidence of someone just going through the motions and not really taking care of his patients. A good doctor would say, ‘I don’t send patients for biopsies and expect to see negative tissue. I want to talk to that radiologist and find out where he had that needle. I want to talk to the pathologist to find out if what is shown on the slide corresponds to the X-ray. I may even want to get the radiologist and pathologist together to talk it out.’ That’s someone who goes the extra mile for the patient, not just trying to get through and get to the next patient so he can get his reimbursement.”
Find out more about this book:The 10 Best Questions for Surviving Breast Cancer: The Script You Need to Take Control of Your Health