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Biopsy - The removal and examination of a small piece of tissue to check for cancer cells. By examining the tissue under a microscope, a biopsy can help determine if a tumor is benign or cancerous. If the tissue is cancerous, a biopsy can also determine which type of cancer is present. In addition, a biopsy can help determine whether the cancer began at the site of the biopsy sample, or started somewhere else in the body and spread to the site of the biopsy sample. Three common types of biopsy procedures include: removing a sample of tissue (incisional biopsy), removing an entire tumor or lesion (excisional biopsy), and removing a sample of tissue or fluid with a needle (needle biopsy or fine-needle aspiration).
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