Doctors should realize the stress that patients undergo while waiting for test results.
Surgeon Jeffrey Parks discusses a recent study examining the issue, showing that a woman’s “stress hormone levels were just as high during the waiting period as levels determined in women who were told the biopsy was positive for cancer.”
A needle breast biopsy should not take longer than two days for a result, although it make take longer for lumpectomies or axillary node dissections. In any case, patients are often waiting anxiously by the phone for news, and doctors do a significant disservice if they sit on the results.
From a patient’s standpoint, I would not hesitate to ask when results should be expected, and if that deadline passes, calling your doctor to follow-up on the test.