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What are tumor markers?

Tumor markers are substances produced by tumors, but also by normal cells, whose dosage is used as a diagnostic tool, staging parameter, therapeutic control or as a prognostic factor. There are several tumor markers, each one more related to a type of tumor. The main markers of recognized clinical value and the tumors they correspond to are listed below. It is important to emphasize that, depending on the dosage of these markers, they can be interpreted as a normal, suspicious or pathological result. These markers are helpful but not definitive. They must be evaluated along with other diagnostic methods.

Carcinoembryonic antigen - Tumors of the gastrointestinal tract;

Alpha-fetoprotein - Liver tumor, embryonic tumors;

Chorionic Gonadotropin -     Embryonic and placental tumors;

CA 125       Ovarian carcinoma;

CA 15-3       Breast cancer;

CA 19-9       Carcinoma of the pancreas, biliary tract and digestive tract;

CA 72-4       Stomach carcinoma and mucinous adenocarcinoma of the ovary;

PSA          Prostatic carcinoma.

How is the breast biopsy?

Biopsy is the removal of a small amount of tissue for pathological evaluation of the presence (or not) of cancer. The sample removed during the biopsy is analyzed by a pathologist, a physician specialized in interpreting laboratory tests and evaluating cells, tissues and organs to diagnose the disease. If cancer cells are present, the pathologist will determine the type of breast cancer it corresponds to.

There are several types of biopsies, such as fine-needle aspiration biopsy, large-needle biopsy, and surgical biopsy, each with its pros and cons. Choosing the type of biopsy depends on your specific situation. Some of the factors the doctor will consider include type of lesion, size, location, number of tumors, and other clinical conditions.

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What are the main types of biopsies for diagnosing breast cancer?

Fine Needle Aspiration Puncture (FNAB). This procedure involves removing a sample of cells from the suspected breast tissue for examination. In FNAB, a 20/21G needle coupled to a syringe is used for tissue aspiration. Needle placement is commonly guided by ultrasound. The collection of material is carried out with back-and-forth movements of the syringe. The described procedure can be repeated several times, until a sufficient amount of material is obtained, which will later be placed on slides.

                                              Fine needle puncture


Gross Needle Biopsy (Core Biopsy). Fragment biopsy with needle or core biopsy consists of removing tissue fragments, with a needle with a slightly thicker gauge than the FNAB, attached to a special pistol. The positioning of the biopsy needle may be guided by stereotaxic digital mammography or ultrasound. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia and usually several millimeter fragments are removed. It is usually indicated for nodules larger than 5 mm.

                                        Ultrasound-guided core biopsy

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Sorocaba Medical Center


Rua Sorocaba, 464 - room 202

Tel. 21 2537-0138 / 2539-5093

    Second fourth  it's Friday

Americas Medical City

Barra da Tijuca

Av. Jorge Curi, 550 - rooms 252/253

Tel. 21 3264-4866 / 3264-4863

    Tuesday and Thursday

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