New type of ultrasound might substitute for some biopsies

March 30, 2010

The Washington Post

Every year in the United States, more than 5 million biopsies are performed on suspicious tissue from all parts of the body, primarily to detect cancer. Biopsies are most commonly done by taking a tissue sample for lab analysis using a needle, and remain the best test for diagnosing and staging cancer.

But biopsies are not without risk: They can cause infection, major blood vessels can be punctured, untargeted organs can be injured. And they are expensive: from $135 and up for suspicious skin growths to $1,950 for the liver and $4,500 for the prostate. As of now, up to 80 percent of biopsied tissue proves to be benign... read more