Can Getting a Biopsy Spread Cancer?

Few things are harder to deal with in life than being diagnosed with cancer. Having this happen to someone you love can be even more difficult. The shock, fear and uncertainty about the future are more than enough to deal with. No one should also be faced with bad information in the form of myths and internet rumors making it even more confusing to know what to do next.

The idea that a biopsy can spread cancer has been floating around for years. Unfortunately, when people hear things often enough, a certain aura of credibility begins to form. This may be harmless and even somewhat entertaining when it’s about Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster, but it is a totally different matter when it might make someone opt not to have a test that could provide a valuable diagnosis.

Needle biopsies, the primary method of diagnosing many types of cancer, do not cause the cancer cells to spread. In fact, the Mayo Clinic did a study on 2,000 patients, which showed no evidence that biopsies cause disease to spread. What it did show, however, is that patients whose diagnoses are confirmed by biopsies have better outcomes and longer survival rates than those who don’t.

The biopsy is an extremely valuable tool for the doctor to use in making a definitive diagnosis and choosing the best treatment for the patient. There have also been many cases in which the biopsy was instrumental in determining that a growth or lump was benign, thereby sparing the patient from a needless surgery. How unfortunate would it be to have a breast removed only to discover that a simple test could have revealed that it was unnecessary? That is the danger of inaccurate information, especially for those who don’t choose to view website.

Biopsies spreading cancer is not the only cancer-related myth floating around. Here are some of the more well-known ones:

  • Does eating sugar make cancer worse? No. Cancer cells consume more sugar than normal cells but eating sugar will not make cancer worse nor will stopping make cancer go away.
  • Do artificial sweeteners cause cancer? No. Despite all of the sad tales of mice on the internet, researchers have determined there is no evidence to support that this is true.
  • Is cancer contagious? No. Although there may be a very slight risk in the case of organ donation from someone who had cancer.
  • Does attitude, either positive or negative, affect risk or recovery from cancer? No. Although a positive attitude may aid in coping with the disease.
  • Will cancer get worse if exposed to air? No.
  • Do cell phones cause cancer? No. This is another popular theory that has no supporting evidence. Cancer results from genetic mutations and the frequency produced by cell phones does not damage genes.
  • Do power lines cause cancer? No.
  • Do antiperspirants or deodorants cause breast cancer? No.
  • Does hair dye cause cancer? No. At least not for the end user. Professional hair stylists and barbers who are regularly exposed to large quantities of these chemicals may end up with an increased risk for bladder cancer.

It can be difficult to know what is true and what is not, especially at a time when we are being constantly bombarded with massive amounts of information. Much, if not most, can be ignored. When it comes to decisions regarding your health, however, there is never an excuse for simply believing prevailing opinion. Always do the research necessary to make informed decisions.

If you would like to learn more about biopsies, please watch the following video.