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Tissue Test: Biopsy Fundamentals and How to Prepare for One

Trained in dentistry, Sree is currently pursuing lab sciences. She loves researching and sharing information on various health topics.

A biopsy is also known as a human tissue test. Simply put, a sample of your body's tissue will be taken for tests and close examination. Just the sound of that can be a bit alarming. Your doctor is going to remove living tissues from your body after all and that sounds something really serious.

What is a Tissue Test or Biopsy?

A tissue test may be required by your doctor for further assessment. It's called a biopsy because they are going to take a very small sample of living tissue. This medical procedure is usually recommended by a doctor if the initial tests that were performed for you may hint that there are cells or bodily tissues that are not normal.

Physicians make use of a variety of terms to refer to these abnormally growing tissues in our bodies. You may have heard some of them already. They may call it a mass, a tumor, or a lesion.

Remember that these are general terms. Your doctor (or any other health worker for that matter) will use them to emphasize the fact that the nature of the tissues being tested is unknown.

These terms also denote that these tissues are suspicious, which is why your doctor will order a tissue test. Other than a physical examination, another option is via an imaging test. If that doesn't help then a tissue test will become necessary.

Tissue Test: Biopsy Fundamentals and How to Prepare for One

Tissue Test: Biopsy Fundamentals and How to Prepare for One

Why Would a Doctor Suggest or Require a Biopsy?

Your doctor, a pathologist, or other medical expert may require tissue tests for patients who are experiencing symptoms that are usually associated with any type of cancer. If your doctor has pin pointed an area on the body that is suspect then a tissue test will be ordered.

A biopsy or tissue test is necessary to determine if the mass of abnormally growing bodily tissues is cancerous or not. Take note that a biopsy is currently the only sure way to properly and accurately diagnose the majority of known cancers.

As it was mentioned earlier, there are other methods such as imaging tests but they are not as accurate. Some of these imaging tests include X-rays and CT scans. They can help identify certain suspect areas on the body but they can't identify or confirm the presence of cancerous or non-cancerous cells.

Don't Panic-It Doesn't Mean You Already Have Cancer

When your doctor brings you the gloomy news that a biopsy will be required a lot of people will feel certain apprehensions. Of course that kind of thing can make anyone worry, right?

However, you should relax and be patient. It doesn't automatically mean that you already have cancer. Just because a medical condition warrants a tissue test that you have a life-threatening condition. The best course of action is to learn more about the procedure that will be performed. The more you understand it the less worrisome it becomes.

A tissue test will determine if the abnormal growth of tissue is caused by cancer or something else. Yes, other medical conditions can also cause such growths.

Here's a common example. After a physical breast exam, a woman finds that there is a lump growing in one of her breasts. Her doctor orders an imaging test to confirm the growth in her breast.

The image test will determine if there is a growth underneath and nothing more. If there is undergrowth there, her doctor will then require a tissue test. If not then there is no need for one.