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Why are multiple biopsy procedures needed?

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Quick Answer

Multiple biopsy procedures may be used to make the detection of cancer precursors more effective, notes the National Cancer Institute. Performing more than one biopsy can also aid in early disease detection and avoid the need for more biopsies than absolutely necessary.

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A single biopsy has been known to fail in detecting high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions in cervical cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. A study showed that the sensitivities involved with detecting HSIL improved from roughly 61 percent for one biopsy to approximately 86 percent for two biopsies and about 96 percent for three biopsies. In most cases, only the worst-looking area of the cervix surface is chosen for a biopsy, rather than performing biopsies on multiple lesions.

Examples of the different types of biopsies include bone marrow biopsy, endoscopic biopsy and needle biopsy, says Mayo Clinic. There are several different options for a needle biopsy, such as core needle biopsy, fine-needle aspiration, vacuum-assisted biopsy and image-guided biopsy.

In addition to detecting the presence of cancer, multiple biopsies can also be performed to determine how aggressive the cancer is and to discover its point of origin, notes Mayo Clinic. The results of a biopsy can be used to create a treatment plan for the cancer according to how aggressive it is.

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