If you've just performed a breast self-examination and think that you found something to be concerned about, the following are typical next steps:

  • Fine-needle aspiration. This is the least expensive and quickest test. It can be done in your surgeon's office with a local anesthetic. A needle syringe is inserted into the lump for a fluid sample. If clear fluid can be aspirated, that means it's a cyst (Whew!). The aspiration procedure itself usually causes the cyst to disappear.

  • Needle biopsy. For this procedure, a needle syringe is inserted into the lump for a tissue sample. The sample is then sent to a lab where a pathologist determines whether cancerous cells are present.

  • Surgical biopsy. A surgeon operates to cut a small tissue sample of the lump. Then, the sample is sent to lab pathologist to ascertain its status.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW perform a breast self-examination?