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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - For breast lumps that can be felt with the fingers but look benign on ultrasound, an immediate biopsy may not be needed, particularly for some young women, researchers report.Instead, the researchers write in the December issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology, a checkup six months later would be fine for such "palpable lesions.""Many palpable lumps that are solid (not a fluid filled cyst) on ultrasound undergo either needle or surgical biopsy, even when they appear benign on imaging," Dr. Jennifer A. Harvey, who led the study, noted in an email to Reuters Health.She and colleagues at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, evaluated 375 "palpable lesions" detected in 320 women over six and a half years. After an average follow-up period of almost three years, just one of the lumps turned out to be cancer - that is, not benign -- Harvey said.Given how many biopsies would therefore turn out to be negative for cancer, "short-term follow-up is a reasonable alternative to biopsy" in these women, Harvey added in a statement accompanying the study.While the study suggests that waiting for a repeated ultrasound for six months is as safe as an immediate breast biopsy, "biopsy should be considered if the clinical exam is concerning or if the lump increases in size," Harvey said. Such a strategy, she added, "may reduce the number of biopsies that result in benign findings. There is also significant cost savings associated with using short-term follow-up rather than immediate biopsy."SOURCES: American Journal of Roentgenology, December 2009.