A biopsy (a sample of tissue taken from the part of your body where cancer is suspected) is how cancer is diagnosed. Imaging tests, such as X-rays, are helpful in detecting masses or areas of abnormality, but they can't differentiate cancerous cells from noncancerous ones. A biopsy to collect cells for closer examination is required to definitively diagnose most types of cancer.

Our pathology labs use multiple techniques to test biopsied tissue to determine whether it is cancer and, if so, of what specific type and sub-type. Accurate diagnosis is vital to successful treatment of cancer.

At Torrance Memorial we use advanced techniques and modern imaging technology to obtain biopsies in the least invasive fashion. We do everything we can to help you stay comfortable during the procedure, and to ensure that your recovery is quick and uneventful.

Types of Biopsies Used in Diagnosing Cancer

There are several different kinds of biopsies. Your doctor will choose the type to use based on your condition and the area of your body that needs closer review.

Bone Marrow Biopsy

Inside some of your larger bones—such as the hip or the femur in your leg—blood cells are produced in a spongy material that is called marrow.

If your doctor suspects there are problems with your blood, you may undergo a bone marrow biopsy. This test can single out both cancerous conditions, such as leukemia or lymphoma, and noncancerous conditions, such as anemia or an infection. A bone marrow test is also used to check if cancer cells from another part of the body have spread to your bones.

The easiest and most efficient way to reach bone marrow is by inserting a long needle into your hipbone. This may be done in a hospital or doctor’s office. Though some people feel a dull pain during this procedure (because the insides of your bones cannot be numbed), for many the only sensation is from injection of the local anesthetic.

Needle Biopsies

Needle biopsy is used to collect samples of tissues from the body. The different types of needle biopsy include:

  • Core needle biopsy: These uses a medium-sized needle to extract a column of tissue, in the same way that a core sample is taken from the earth
  • Fine needle biopsies: This uses a thin needle to remove cells for testing
  • Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) with biopsy: This advanced, image-guided biopsy technique combines ultrasound with a bronchoscope for precision in obtaining a biopsy
  • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) with biopsy: This imaging technology that adds ultrasound to endoscopy to access the lungs and nearby structures
  • Image guided biopsy: An imaging procedures—such as an ultrasound or a CT scan — guides your doctor to target specific areas, such as the lung, liver, or other organs
  • Vacuum-assisted biopsy: These use suction from a vacuum to collect cells

Navigational Bronchoscopy

Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy (ENB), available at Torrance Memorial, is a minimally invasive technology that allows full exploration of all parts of the lungs. ENB is a useful technology for diagnosis and treatment of cancerous lesions in the lungs, in a minimally invasive way, without the need for complex surgery.

Read More About Navigation Bronchoscopy

Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS)

An advanced, image-guided biopsy technique that combines ultrasound with a bronchoscope, offers many advantages for accurate diagnosis and staging. Benefits include improved visualization of the airways and surrounding tissue, allowing precise localization

Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)

EUSis a type of imaging technology that adds ultrasound to endoscopy to visualize and gain information about the lungs and surrounding organs and tissue.

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