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When are biopsies recommended?

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  • A biopsy might be recommended whenever there is an important medical question the biopsy could help answer. Here are just a few examples: A mammogram shows a lump or mass, indicating the possibility of breast cancer.
  • A mole on the skin has changed shape recently, meaning that melanoma is possible.
  • A person has chronic hepatitis must be checked for cirrhosis. In some cases, a biopsy of normal-appearing tissue may be done. This can help check for cancer spread or rejection of a transplanted organ. In most cases, a biopsy is done to diagnose a problem or to help determine the best treatment option.

From: What Is a Biopsy? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

National Cancer Institute: "Dictionary of Cancer Terms."

Zuber, T. , March 15, 2002. American Family Physician

WebMD Medical Reference: "Breast Biopsy."

National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse: "Kidney Biopsy."

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on July 30, 2017

SOURCES:

National Cancer Institute: "Dictionary of Cancer Terms."

Zuber, T. , March 15, 2002. American Family Physician

WebMD Medical Reference: "Breast Biopsy."

National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse: "Kidney Biopsy."

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on July 30, 2017

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