Tags: cancer | biopsy | tumor | types | diagnosis

Cancer Biopsy: Is It Always Accurate?

Sunday, 27 April 2014 09:45 PM

Biopsy is a medical diagnosis performed for patients suspected to have cancer or when a tumor has been diagnosed. The initial diagnosis usually begins with the patient’s physical examination by the doctor, followed by imaging procedures such as X-rays. In case any tumors are evident, a biopsy is advised.
Let us discuss the procedure for cancer diagnosis, the various types of biopsies, and determine how often the procedure is accurate in identifying cancer from the tumor.

A Brief Note on Biopsy

Cancer biopsy is a medical diagnosis or procedure where tissue samples are taken from the patient. Tissues from the tumor itself or those surrounding it are removed, preserved and sent to the laboratory for examination and deep investigation to determine whether they show presence or signs of cancer cells. These tissues are set in wax and finely sliced. Following this, the tissue samples are mounted on a glass slide and stained with various dyes. This is to help evaluate the different signs or characteristics of the tumor cells. The biopsy on the tissues or diagnosis for cancer usually takes a day. In case of results showing presence of cancer, doctor might advise further treatments.

Types of Tumor Biopsy

There are various types of biopsy employed in the diagnosis of cancer from the visible tumor. Here are some key biopsy types to help arrive at an accurate diagnosis.
  • Bone marrow biopsy: In this, a strong and long needle is inserted into the bone marrow and cells aspirated for examination.
  • Endoscopic biopsy: This is performed via a fiber optic endoscope that is used to visualize the suspected organ or tumor.
  • Excisional biopsy: In this type of cancer diagnosis procedure, a larger and deeper portion of skin tissue is removed for examination. In this process, either the entire tumor or a portion of the tumor is removed from the patient’s body.
  • FNA (Fine needle aspiration): In this type, a very fine and small needle is used for examining the tumor tissue and very little tissue is removed for the diagnosis.
  • Shave biopsy: This type of diagnosis involves shaving of top skin layers. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia.
  • Core biopsy: This type uses a larger needle to remove tissues from the suspicious areas.
Cancer Biopsy: Is It Always Accurate?

The biopsies or the diagnosis procedure for determining whether a tumor can be a cancerous one, are not always accurate. However, in most cases, the diagnosis is accurate. Among the various types of cancer/ tumor biopsies, accuracy levels vary in cancer or tumor diagnosis. Considering the needle procedures, in case of FNA, the accuracy primarily depends on the expertise of the person or expert pathologist extracting the tissue. Similarly, core needle biopsies for tumor or cancer usually have chances of providing a diagnosis different from that of an open biopsy.

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Biopsy is considered the most definitive method of reaching a cancer diagnosis. Doctors advise this procedure following a patient’s physical examination or other imaging procedures showing the presence of a tumor. There are many types of cancer biopsies.
cancer, biopsy, tumor, types, diagnosis
Sunday, 27 April 2014 09:45 PM
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