The 2011 story, part 3

Needle Core Biopsy 1: Atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH)
Needle Core Biopsy 2: Atypical lobular hyperplasia (ALH)

I having two surgical biopsies (lumpectomies) scheduled. I will go in about 8.15 and come out between 1 and 2 pm. Mike will do a “work from home” day so that he can drive me to and fro.

My surgeon is the same woman who performed my colon resection; she specializes in minimally invasive surgery, including breast cancer. I learned this when I saw her in February, because there was a patient in the waiting room discussing her results with a friend. Yes, I could “go downtown” but I think at this stage the fact that I am comfortable with the surgeon is incredibly important. Plus, she shifted her schedule to get me in next week; I start teaching spring quarter the following week.


“Hyperplasia” is an abnormal but non-cancerous growth of cells within the ductal-lobular (milk ducts) system of the breast.

Neither ADH or ALH are breast cancer but each is a marker for an increased risk for developing breast cancer, probably ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) which is non-invasive breast cancer (Stage 0).

When ADH is found on needle biopsy, a surgical excision (lumpectomy) is usually performed to remove the cells and to see if there is a more gross abnormality present in the breast. For women having lumpectomy and radiation, the risk of local recurrence ranges from 5-15 percent.

The lumpectomy is a wire localization procedure.

The radiologist inserts a wire (in my case, two wires) with the assistance of imaging. I am assuming that the markers left behind on Thursday will make this process easier. This will take about two hours (one hour for each breast). Then I’ll have minimally invasive surgery
to remove the tissue; I will be under sedation or anesthesia — probably the later because we are doing two.

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