Does Biopsy Mean Cancer?

Reviewed on 12/29/2020

What Is a Biopsy?

Doctors will perform a biopsy procedure to sample tissue and test for cancer. “Biopsy” refers to this surgical/testing procedure; the results of a biopsy.
Doctors will perform a biopsy procedure to sample tissue and test for cancer. “Biopsy” refers to this surgical/testing procedure; the results of a biopsy.

A biopsy is a procedure in which cells or tissues are removed for examination by a pathologist. 

There are many different types of biopsy procedures. The most common types of biopsies include:

  • Incisional biopsy
    • Only a sample of tissue is removed
  • Excisional biopsy
    • An entire lump or suspicious area is removed
  • Needle biopsy
    • A sample of tissue or fluid is removed with a needle
    • A core biopsy uses a wide needle
    • A fine-needle aspiration biopsy uses a thin needle 
  • Image-guided biopsy
  • Vacuum-assisted biopsy
    • Uses a suction device to collect a tissue sample through a specially designed needle
    • May be image guided
  • Shave biopsy
    • A sharp tool is used to remove tissue from the skin’s surface
  • Punch biopsy
    • A sharp, circular tool is inserted into the skin to remove a sample from below the skin’s surface
  • Endoscopic biopsy
    • Used to take a biopsy from inside of the body, including the bladder, abdomen, joints, or gastrointestinal (GI) tract
  • Laparoscopic biopsy
    • Used for the abdomen
    • Similar to an endoscopic biopsy
  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy
  • Liquid biopsy
    • Tests blood samples for cancer
    • This is a newer technique

Does Biopsy Mean Cancer?

A biopsy is a common procedure used to diagnose cancer when it is suspected. It is usually recommended if a doctor finds something abnormal during a physical exam or other tests. 

A biopsy means cancer is suspected, but only the results of the biopsy can confirm the diagnosis. A biopsy may help diagnose cancer but it can also rule it out.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Reviewed on 12/29/2020
References
https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/search/biopsy/?searchMode=Begins

https://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/diagnosing-cancer/tests-and-procedures/biopsy