Thursday, 31 January 2008
are needle biopsies safe?
A June 2004 report from the John Wayne Cancer Institute in California has rekindled a long-standing debate over whether or not needle biopsies are safe. The paper set out to examine whether this technique, widely used to obtain specimens in cases of suspected cancer, might itself allow malignant cells to spread from an isolated tumor to nearby lymph nodes. The authors reluctantly conclude that a needle biopsy may indeed increase the spread of the disease by 50 percent compared to patients who receive the more traditional excisional biopsies (or "lumpectomies").