Here are some questions to ask if your doctor says you need a biopsy:
What type of biopsy do you recommend? Please explain it.
- Incisional biopsy: part of the tumor is cut out and looked at under a microscope.
- Excisional biopsy: the tumor is removed totally.
- Needle biopsy: a needle is used to extract either fluid or tissue for analysis under a microscope. This method is also called “aspiration biopsy,” and usually can be done as an outpatient with a minimal or local anesthetic.
Who will perform the biopsy (a surgeon, interventional radiologist, etc.)?
Will the biopsy leave a scar? Where will it be? What will it look like?
After the biopsy, if there is a malignancy, how much time can I take to make up my mind on what type of treatment to have?
If I undergo general anesthesia, can you guarantee that you won’t go ahead with surgery other than a biopsy, if that’s my preference? While this is often desirable to the patient, sometimes it’s not possible. However, ask your doctor to explain when that might be the case.