Biopsy

If you have been experiencing symptoms normally associated with cancer, and your doctor has located an area of concern, they may order a biopsy to help determine if that area is cancerous.

A biopsy is the only sure way to diagnosis most cancers. Imaging tests like CT scans and X-rays can help identify areas of concerns, but they can’t differentiate between cancerous and noncancerous cells.

Biopsies are typically associated with cancer, but just because your doctor orders a biopsy, it doesn’t mean that you have cancer. Doctors use biopsies to test whether abnormalities in your body are caused by cancer or by other conditions.

For example, a woman might have a lump in her breast. An imaging test would confirm the lump, but a biopsy is the only way to determine whether it’s breast cancer or another noncancerous condition, such as polycystic fibrosis.