Lumps or irregularities in the breast are often discovered by self-examination or mammography. And even though the discovery of such abnormalities is found, a doctor cannot tell from these tests if the growth is benign or cancerous.
A breast biopsy is done to remove some cells, this can be done by surgery or by a less invasive process that requires a hollow needle removing a few cells from a suspicious area in the breast and a pathologist examines it under a microscope to determine a diagnosis. During a breast biopsy, part or all of a tumor can be removed.
Image-guided biopsy is done when the abnormal area in the breast is too small to be felt, making it harder to feel the growth or mass with the hand.
In stereotactic breast biopsy, a special mammography machine uses ionizing radiation to help guide the interventional radiologist's instruments to the site of the abnormal growth.