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Colorectal Cancer Health Center

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Biopsy for Colorectal Cancer

A biopsy is a type of test used to diagnose colorectal cancer, among other things. A small sample of tissue is removed and then examined under a microscope. This test may be used to diagnose cancer or to see whether or not existing cancer has spread to the surrounding tissue. Often, it is done during a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.

What Happens During a Biopsy for Colorectal Cancer?

If your doctor identifies an area during the sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy that needs to be biopsied, he or she will take a sample from that area during the test. Once a sample has been gathered, it is sent to the pathology lab for evaluation.

What Happens After a Biopsy for Colorectal Cancer?

The aftereffects of a biopsy for colorectal cancer are generally mild. Slight discomfort and light bleeding are to be expected. However, infections and injuries to the colon or rectum do occasionally occur.

You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • Severe pain
  • Heavy bleeding (greater than a teaspoon at a time)
  • Fever or chills

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Sujana Movva, MD on July 27, 2014

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