If your doctor suspects you may have breast cancer or wants to confirm that you don't, you'll probably be scheduled for a biopsy, a procedure in which some breast tissue is extracted and analyzed for cancerous cells.

Keep these helpful hints in mind as you go in for your biopsy appointment:

  • Not all biopsies are the same; some can be done with a needle in the doctor's office while others require a small surgery. Ask your doctor's office which kind you'll be having.

  • If you are having the surgical kind, have a friend bring you in and drive you home again.

  • Don't panic. Remember, being sent for a biopsy does not mean that you have cancer. It's just a more accurate way of checking any suspicious cells to see whether they are malignant (cancerous) or benign (not cancerous). Three-quarters of biopsies done as a result of your doctor feeling a lump in your breast turn out to be not cancerous.