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These follow up scans and tests after a cancer are a well known cause of great anxiety and fear. The fact that your mother did not need chemotherapy for the breast cancer likely means that it had not spread to the lymph nodes which is a good finding. The radiation given is to prevent local recurrence at the site of surgery and is standard. Kidney cysts are very common (more than one quarter of all people over 60 have them) and CT scans are now good enough that they can usually tell if it's a cyst or a solid tumor. The vast majority of cysts are benign and require no treatment. The lung nodule is very small, at the limit of detection of the x-rays, and that small-size by itself is reassuring. But more important is the fact that it is stable, meaning that it has not grown over some interval between x-rays, indicating that it is likely an old scar, or granuloma, from a prior infection and not a tumor. These scars are also quite common and her doctor has no doubt seen this innumerable times which makes him/her confident that these are nothing to worry about.
Answered by Dr. Whitten
Mislabeling errors are very uncommon, but do occur. There should NEVER be multiple patients' labels present at a given procedure. When the patient enters the biopsy/procedure suite, there should be verbal correlation of the patient's name with the labels that are present. Each procedure center should develop their own checks and balances that work and are critically evaluated.
Occasionally when a biopsy "pass" is attempted, a piece of tissue does not come out. This can easily cause a discrepancy in the number of attempts versus the number of pieces of tissue. Likewise, it is not unusual for there to be more tissue fragments than biopsy attempts, as tissue can often fragment within the specimen container. A large discrepancy in number though, could be an issue.
Answered By:Barry T. Kahn, M.D.