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A biopsy is a test in which a small piece of tumor or tissue is taken out of the body to be examined for cancer cells. This procedure is done to determine the exact type of cancer that is present. A biopsy can also be done to determine whether the treatment has gotten rid of cancer cells or to monitor continued remission.
There are two types of biopsies. The exact procedure depends upon the area that needs to be biopsied and the patient's age.
Some biopsies are done in the operating room under general anesthesia (completely asleep). Other biopsies are done using local anesthesia to numb the skin. The type of anesthesia used will depend on the location of the biopsy.