PMID: 6877162Aug 20, 1983

Fine-needle aspiration cytology in the management of breast disease

The Medical Journal of Australia
D M IngramK B Shilkin


The results of a series of fine needle aspiration biopsies of breast lumps were reviewed to evaluate the accuracy of this diagnostic method and its place in the clinical management of breast lesions. A high level of diagnostic accuracy was achieved. There were no false positive diagnoses of malignancy and fewer than 3% of diagnoses were falsely negative. Eighty per cent of carcinomas could be confidently diagnosed by means of cytological investigation. The patient with a benign cytological diagnosis can either be reassured, or her surgical management planned as a day case. For the patient with a cytological diagnosis of malignancy, discussion of the nature of her surgery and subsequent care is possible before operation. In selected cases of carcinoma, mastectomy can be performed without frozen-section confirmation. Diagnostic accuracy is dependent upon experience, especially in aspiration technique, and optimum results are obtained if the pathologist/cytologist also performs the procedure.

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