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In this test, your doctor uses a thin needle to remove fluid from a breast lump. If the fluid appears to contain cells, a pathologist at a lab checks them for cancer with a microscope. If the fluid is clear, it may not need to be checked by a lab.
If a breast cancer diagnosis is made, your doctor may order special lab tests on the breast tissue that was removed. These tests help your doctor learn more about the cancer and come up with a treatment plan:
- Hormone receptor test: This test shows whether the tissue has certain hormone receptors. Tissue with these receptors needs hormones (estrogen or progesterone) to grow.
- HER2 test: This test shows whether the tissue has a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2) or the HER2/neu gene. Having too much protein or too many copies of the gene in the tissue may increase the chance that the breast cancer will come back after treatment.