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Biopsy to Test Pancreas Cancer

Updated on September 30, 2017

Types of Pancreas Biopsy

An individual's medical history, physical examination, and imaging test outcomes might strongly recommend pancreatic cancer, but typically the only way to be sure is to remove a little sample of tumor and look at it under the microscope. This procedure is called a biopsy Biopsies can be done in various ways.

Percutaneous (through the skin) biopsy: For this test, a doctor inserts a thin, hollow needle through the skin over the abdomen and into the pancreas to remove a little piece of a tumor. This is referred to as a fine needle goal (FNA). The doctor guides the needle into location using images from ultrasound or CT scans.

Endoscopic biopsy: Doctors can likewise biopsy a tumor during an endoscopy. The doctor passes an endoscope (a thin, versatile, tube with a small video camera on the end) down the throat and into the small intestine near the pancreas. At this point, the doctor can either use endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) to pass a needle into the tumor or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) to remove cells from the bile or pancreatic ducts. These tests are described in more detail above. You will be sedated (made drowsy) for these tests, but general anesthesia (being taken into a deep sleep) is not usually needed. Major side effects from these types of biopsies are rare.

Surgical biopsy: Surgical biopsies are now done less often than in the past. They can be helpful if the surgeon is concerned the cancer has actually spread out beyond the pancreas and wishes to take a look at (and possibly biopsy) other organs in the abdominal area.

The most typical method to do a surgical biopsy is to use laparoscopy (in some cases called keyhole surgery), according to cancerresearchuk.org. You will be sedated or asleep for this procedure. The surgeon makes a number of small incisions (cuts) in the abdomen and inserts long, thin instruments. Among these has a small camera on completion to let the surgeon see inside the abdominal area. The surgeon can take a look at the pancreas and other organs for tumors and take biopsy samples of irregular areas.

In the past, surgeons typically used a laparotomy (a big cut through the skin into the wall of the abdominal area) to examine internal organs and take biopsies. However this kind of surgery requires a longer recovery and is now hardly ever used.

Pancreas cancer
Pancreas cancer | Source

Some people might not need a biopsy

Seldom, the doctor may refrain from doing a biopsy on somebody who has a tumor in the pancreas if imaging tests reveal the tumor is likely to be cancer and if it appears like surgery can remove all of it.

Instead, the doctor will proceed with surgery, at which time the tumor cells can be looked at to confirm the diagnosis. During surgery, if the doctor finds that the cancer has actually spread too far to be removed totally, just a sample of the cancer may be eliminated to validate the medical diagnosis, and the rest of the prepared operation will be stopped.

Also you can check the related articles:

Pancreatic cancer stages

Symptoms of pancreas cancer

Can you live without your pancreas?

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