The assessment of screen-detected abnormalities in the BreastScreen Australia program is based on assessing breast lesions using the “triple test”, comprising clinical assessment (medical history and clinical breast examination), radiological assessment (mammography and/or ultrasound) and pathological assessment (needle biopsy).
Needle biopsy plays a key role in the pathological assessment of screen-detected lesions. FNA and core biopsy (including vacuum-assisted core biopsy) are the two needle biopsy methods available, each with their own benefits and limitations, and varying degrees of sensitivity and specificity depending upon the clinical circumstance. A summary of specific advice on the use of FNA or core biopsy based on lesion type in the BreastScreen Australia program is provided in Table 1. A summary of the benefits and limitations of each technique is provided in Table 2.