The study found nearly a third of patients with breast cancer are diagnosed by surgical biopsy, which is more invasive, costly and risky than removing a small sample of tissue through a needle.

“Too many women are still having excisional biopsies rather than needle biopsies,” said Dr. Benjamin Smith, a radiation oncologist at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the study’s principal investigator. “Excisional biopsies are typically a wasteful procedure that negatively affects other aspects of breast cancer treatment.”

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