Cancer refers to any one of a large number of diseases characterized by the development of abnormal cells that divide uncontrollably and have the ability to infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue.
Having a biopsy is necessary to confirm that the condition being treated is indeed cancer. This is because there are conditions that look like cancer but are completely benign. Treating a benign condition as a cancer leads to unnecessary risks to the patient.
Today, there are a variety of options available to treat cancer, depending on the location and the particular cell differentiation. These options include:
Some cancers only require treatment with one of these therapies, while others respond better to a combination of them. The treatment team discusses all possible options, risks, and benefits with the patient and if desired, with family, so the patient can make an informed decision.
A biopsy confirms the diagnosis. Additional testing, including bloodwork and imaging, help assess the stage and extent of the disease. This guides the physician in planning appropriate treatment.