Objective: We investigated the role and turn around time of rapid staining and immediate interpretation of fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) for women with palpable breast lesions. Study Design: A total of 408 FNAC specimens from 400 patients with palpable breast lesions was analyzed for immediate interpretation and preliminary cytologic diagnosis. All cytological diagnoses were correlated with subsequent alcohol-fixed Papanicolaou-stained slides, mammographic, ultrasonographic and histopathological findings. Results: Of the 408 specimens, 243 (59.6%) were interpreted as benign, 37 (9.0%) atypical, 22 (5.4%) suspicious, 68 (16.7%) malignant, and 38 (9.3%) unsatisfactory. 132 of 408 (32.4%) had subsequent surgical procedures; the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and accuracy were 88.5, 100, 100, 81.9 and 92.4%, respectively. The average turn around time was 8.6 min. Mammographic results were available in 242 (59.3%) cases, with 112 (46.3%) undergoing surgical excision. In correlation with mammography and surgical pathology, the false-positive rate, false-negative rate, sensitivity, specificity and accuracy were 1.9, 10.5, 98.1, 89.5 and 95.8%, respectively. Conclusions: Rapid FNAC interpretation is a useful, effective diagnostic method for palpable breast lesions in our healthcare environment.

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