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Surgeons May Be Operating Too Much When Breast Biopsy Needed

Doctors are choosing to operate on women who need breast biopsies more often than recommended by national guidelines rather than perform a safer, cheaper needle biopsy, a university study found.

Almost one-third of the 172,342 biopsies done in the state of Florida from 2003 to 2008 were done surgically, even though national guidelines recommend 10 percent or less should rely on this more costly procedure, according to a study published today by doctors at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Instead, physicians should be relying on needle biopsies when breast abnormalities are detected, the report said.