This involves taking a small piece (sample) from the cancer. A pathologist then looks at the sample under a microscope to check for cancer cells. This is often the only sure way to tell if you have cancer.
Your doctor may recommend an incision biopsy or a needle biopsy.
Your doctor will take a small piece of tissue using a surgical knife. This can be done under topical or general anaesthesia, so that you don’t feel any pain. In both cases, an endoscope and biopsy forcep is used to go through the nose into the nasopharynx. Depending on the size and location of the biopsy, you may need stitches. There may be some bleeding after the biopsy. If you take blood thinners (e.g. warfarin), you may need to stop these before the biopsy.
Needle biopsy (Fine Needle Aspiration or FNA):
This is used when there is a lump (enlarged lymph node) in the neck that could have cancer cells in it. During the procedure, your doctor will take some cells from the lump using a needle. Usually this is done with guidance from an ultrasound to make sure the needle is in the right spot. You may feel a bit uncomfortable during the biopsy.