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advice about Biopsy needed

Bubbs21's picture
Posts: 47
Joined: Jul 2012

I have been impatiently waiting for an appointment with the oncologist. Today I got a voice message advising that the oncologist has ordered a biopsy before the consult. I am confused. Is it not proper to provide a patient with options and to discuss the risks? I have read on many sites that biopsies are not standard because a large number of tumour are malignant and because of the theory of seeding. I am looking for your insights? Who's had a biopsy and were you consulted first? For those who haven't had a biopsy was it an option? Why or why not? Tanks in advance for your perspectives.

Posts: 10
Joined: Jul 2012

I was told that if you have a mass in your kidney, never have a biopsy done prior to surgery. Just one cell could get loose. Just what I heard...

Posts: 10
Joined: Jul 2012

My mass was 2 cm and the doctor told me it was cancerous after seeing the cat scan. I don't know what your situation is.

Stevewmass's picture
Posts: 37
Joined: May 2012

My urologist told me that they don't do biopsies because they get too many false readings. In my case after surgery the Pathology report came back part of the tumor was benign and parts were malignant. So if the biopsy was taken from the benign part of the tumor then I wouldn't have had the surgery and it would have continued to grow.

Texas_wedge's picture
Posts: 2798
Joined: Nov 2011

That's absolutely right. There is a real, but almost negligibly small risk of seeding, but the risk of false negative results is highly significant - currently reckoned at around 25% and the way I read recent research findings that estimate is more likely to be increased than decreased.

garym's picture
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

I was offered a biopsy and declined, but I had a bit more experience with RCC at dx than most. Couple the risks stated above with about 90% correct diagnosis from CT with contrast and biopsies aren't worth it in my opinion, but you must do what feels right for you.


Bubbs21's picture
Posts: 47
Joined: Jul 2012

Thank you all for sharing your insights, experience and knowledge. You have confirmed everything that I have heard and read up until now.

Even the Canadian and American Cancer Societies publish that biopsies are not standard procedure for the very reasons each of you sights.

Here is my dilemna, the co-ordiantor of the Cancer Centre at the hospital has contacted me to advise that I was being refered to a urologist for a biopsy before seeing the oncologist. They do not make diagnosis from imagining. When I asked about the risks and options, I was told that without a tissue sample, that the Cancer Program will not proceed with any treatment as a policy. When I raised the concerns and risks and quoted the various sources, she advised that if I did not have the biopsy, I would not even get an appointment with the oncologist.

So how high risk is this, I ask myself....my tumours are 2cm X 2 and I have cysts on my kidney and liver (per the CT SCANs with and without constrast and ultra sound.

This is time sensative as the biopsy is scheduled for 7:30 Monday morning unless I cancel.

I am impressed with the timing (I was refered my my doctor on July 19th and a biopsy on the 30th. Not bad for Canadian wait times.

Any comments appreciated. I have 2 days to decide what to do....go or no go.

I don't like feeling like there are no options...there are always options.


icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3317
Joined: Jan 2010


Sounds like Canadian Red Tape. Call the Canadian Kidney Cancer Society with your stor and see if they can help.


foxhd's picture
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

That is good advice Garry. Listen to him Bubbs.

Posts: 158
Joined: Mar 2012

My husband wasn't given a biopsy because of the danger of it. His Renal Oncologist told him that the CT scan with contrast showed everything on his left kidney and everything indicated it was cancer. He also had 5 lesions on his lungs and after his radical nephroectomy he was given the option of a biopsy or start chemo pills. The doctor said we can give you a biopsy on your lungs if you wish but the danger outweighs the chance of it not being cancer. His doctor told him there is a chance of dropping a lung then we prolong starting his chemo pills so he opted not to do a biopsy. He goes back next week for his first scans since starting meds to see if they are helping.

We will be thinking of you and praying for a positive outcome.


Bubbs21's picture
Posts: 47
Joined: Jul 2012

Thank you all again...Gary, Iceman, Fox, Karen et al....

I did follow-up with the centre and the Dr's office. I now have a consult for 7:30 Monday morning. I need to be positive, do my homework, and be armed with my questions / concerns.

I expect Monday will be a decision day for my next steps.

Unless something major gets in the way, I am off with my family and friends for a 10 day ocean-side retreat in Prince Edward Island (Aug 3-13). It would be good to have an action plan before I go, so I can pack it all away and focus on some badly needed R&R.

Wishing you all a great day....and by the way, thanks for the quick immersion in to the club :)


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