FAQs on Biopsy

What Is Biopsy?

Biopsy is an invasive procedure where a few bits of tissue are removed from an organ with the help of a biopsy needle.

Why Biopsy Is Required?

Biopsy gives us the tissue bits from concerned organ/body area. These can be studied under a microscope by a pathologist to confirm or rule out presence of cancer.

How a Biopsy of the Breast Lump Is Done?

Biopsy of the breast lump is done with the help of a core needle. This needle is usually 14G or 16G in size. This needle is mounted on a spring loaded gun which drives the needle into breast lump and pulls it back.

How a Biopsy of the Stomach Tumor Done?

Biopsy for suspected stomach cancer is done with the help of endoscopy.

Is Undergoing a Biopsy Painful?

Biopsy is done under a local anesthesia. Hence it is not a painful procedure.

When Biopsy Is Not Required?

When tumor is arising in the following organs, and appears to be operable, a biopsy is not recommended in usual circumstances.

  • Liver
  • Biliary tract
  • Pancreas
  • Kidney
  • Early stage ovarian cancer
  • Small retroperitoneal and mediastinal tumors
  • Small soft tissue tumors in the limbs or in the trunk
Is Biopsy Always Necessary?

Based on patients’ age, symptoms, clinical findings supported by CT/MRI/PET scans an oncologist can diagnose the presence of cancer with reasonable certainty. However, the gold standard for diagnosing a cancer is considered to be a biopsy. Hence ,to start a cancer directed treatment a diagnosis based on biopsy is required.

A biopsy is not mandatory for surgical treatment of cancers arising in certain areas. This is considering the procedural complexity to obtain a biopsy from such areas , risks of complications , risk of tumor spillage, risk of false negative results. In such scenarios, usually, other noninvasive diagnostic modalities like CT/MRI/PET scans have very good diagnostic yield.