, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 144-148
Date: 12 Oct 2012

Pre-Biopsy Psychological Factors Predict Patient Biopsy Experience

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Excisional/surgical breast biopsy has been related to anticipatory emotional distress, and anticipatory distress has been associated with worse biopsy-related outcomes (e.g., pain, physical discomfort).


The present study was designed to investigate (a) whether anticipatory distress before an image-guided breast biopsy would correlate with biopsy-related outcomes (pain and physical discomfort during the biopsy) and (b) whether type of distress (i.e., general anxiety, worry about the procedure, worry about biopsy results) would differentially relate to biopsy-related outcomes.


Fifty image-guided breast biopsy patients (mean age = 44.4 years) were administered questionnaires pre- and post-biopsy. Pre-biopsy, patients completed the Profile of Mood States–tension/anxiety subscale and two visual analog scale items (worry about the biopsy procedure, worry about the biopsy results). Post-biopsy, patients completed two visual analog scale items (pain and physical discomfort at their worst during the procedure).


The following results were gathered: (1) Pre-biopsy worry about the procedure was significantly related to both pain (r = 0.38, p = 0.006) and physical discomfort (r = 0.31, p = 0.026); (2) pre-biopsy general anxiety was significantly related to pain (r = 0.36, p = 0.009), but not to physical discomfort; and (3) Pre-biopsy worry about the biopsy results did not significantly relate to pain or physical discomfort.


Worry about the procedure was the only variable found to be significantly correlated with both biopsy-related outcomes (pain and physical discomfort). From a clinical perspective, this item could be used as a brief screening tool to identify patients who might be at risk for poorer biopsy experiences and who might benefit from brief interventions to reduce pre-biopsy worry.