My Summer Scare

One doctor, reading my breast X ray, ordered a surgical biopsy. I panicked--and I'm glad I did

Like millions of American women, I go faithfully to the radiologist for my annual mammogram. Unlike most women, I got a bad report last month. Tiny specks in my breast, called calcifications, looked to my radiologist as if they had changed since the last time I was tested. Her recommendation: a procedure called a needle-localized excisional biopsy.

I am a medical reporter, so I knew what that meant. Guided by X-ray images, a doctor inserts a wire into the breast to target the calcifications. Then a breast surgeon cuts through the skin, finds the wire and fishes out a sample of...

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