Biopsies don’t promote cancer spread, researchers report

Biopsies don’t promote cancer spread, researchers report

Most of us have probably had a biopsy for a suspicious lump and those of us with SLL, may very well have been diagnosed by a biopsy on a swollen node. What with our increased risk of developing secondary cancers and knowing how cancers are more dangerous when they begin to spread, I'm sure many of us have wondered if having a biopsy could actually cause cancer to begin spreading?

That's one less thing we have to worry about, thanks to a study recently reported in Gut:

gut.bmj.com/content/early/2... (abstract)

“This study shows that physicians and patients should feel reassured that a biopsy is very safe,” said study author Michael Wallace, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.

“We do millions of biopsies of cancer a year in the US, but one or two case studies have led to this common myth that biopsies spread cancer.”

The study was based on monitoring 11 years of Medicare data from 498 pancreatic cancer patients that had had biopsies and subsequently underwent surgery with 1,536 patients who didn't have a biopsy. Reassuringly, those that did have a biopsy out-survived those that didn't.

Overview article (free registration to Hematology Times required)

hematologytimes.com/p_artic...

Neil

Photo: Raindrops on a clothes line

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