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Oncologists at Jordan Valley Cancer Center use a variety of tools to diagnose and stage cancer. Biopsy is one of the most common techniques used in cancer diagnosing and staging. The methods and techniques involved in biopsy can vary greatly. It is important to discuss the details of any proposed biopsy with your cancer specialist. A Nurse Navigator, which is provided to every patient at Jordan Valley Cancer Center, can also help you understand your options.

What Is Biopsy?

Biopsy is a procedure in which a small sample of cells or piece of tissue is removed from the body so that it can undergo lab analysis. Biopsy may be used early in the diagnostic process, or it may be ordered as a follow-up to an imaging procedure. While imaging tests are helpful for detecting tumors and lumps that are likely cancerous, they cannot actually distinguish on a chemical level between cancerous and benign masses. If a potentially cancerous mass is detected via an imaging test, your oncologist at Jordan Valley Cancer Center may order a biopsy.

Types of Biopsy

Learn more about some of the most common methods of biopsy for cancer:

  • Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy (FNAB): In this procedure, a very thin needle – even smaller than the needles used for blood tests – is inserted into a lump and a small amount of tissue or fluid is withdrawn. It may be possible to place the needle directly into a visible lump, or the needle may have to be guided into place with the help of ultrasound. In many cases, a local anesthetic is not even required for FNAB procedures, as the needle for administering anesthetic may hurt more than the actual biopsy itself. Once the tissue is removed, it is examined under a microscope by a pathologist.
  • Core Needle Biopsy (CNB): In this procedure, a hollow needle that is slightly larger than the needle used in FNAB is used to draw out tissue from the tumor. Local anesthesia is typically used for these procedures. Multiple tissue draws may be necessary. Neither internal nor external scarring is typical.
  • Surgical/Open Biopsy: In surgical biopsy, all or part of a suspicious area may be removed. Sometimes the physician removes just enough of the tissue to make a diagnosis (incisional biopsy); other times the physician removes all of the tumor and possibly an edge of healthy tissue (excisional biopsy).
  • Endoscopic biopsy: Endoscopes, small flexible tubes that can be introduced to the body via the mouth, rectum, urethra or a small incision in the skin, allow surgeons many opportunities for minimally invasive biopsy. This technique may be used to take small tissue samples without the added pain, risk and expense of open surgery.

Biopsy Results: Guiding Cancer Treatment In West Jordan

The results of your biopsy may inform your physician about whether or not the tumor or cell mass is cancerous, how aggressive the cancer is, and key information that may guide the treatment strategy. Some biopsy results may be available in just minutes, but it is more typical for results to take at least a few days. Your physician can tell you more about how long you should expect to wait for biopsy results.

Biopsy for Cancer Diagnosing / Staging In West Jordan, UT

For more information about cancer biopsy at Jordan Valley Cancer Center, please contact us by calling 801-601-2260.