Biopsy – Better to avoid taking one
You might be nervous about an upcoming biopsy or even confused as to whether you should take one. Learning about biopsies and how and why they’re done may help reduce your anxiety and help you make an important decision.
A biopsy is a procedure to remove a piece of tissue or a sample of cells from your body so that it can be analyzed in a laboratory. If you’re experiencing certain signs and symptoms or if your doctor has identified an area of concern, you may undergo a biopsy to determine whether you have cancer or some other condition.
While imaging tests, such as X-rays, are helpful in detecting masses or areas of abnormality, they alone can’t differentiate cancerous cells from noncancerous cells. For the majority of cancers, the only way to make a definitive diagnosis is to perform a biopsy to collect cells for closer examination.
Here’s a look at the various types of biopsy procedures used to make a cancer diagnosis.
- Bone marrow biopsy
- Endoscopic biopsy
- Needle biopsy
- Skin biopsy
- Surgical biopsy
A biopsy also helps your doctor determine how aggressive your cancer is — the cancer’s grade. The grade is sometimes expressed as a number on a scale of 1 to 4 and is determined by how cancer cells look under the microscope.
There are pros and cons to biopsy but you have to a better judge to make a decision based on the knowledge you have gained.