An indispensable diagnostic means in cancer diagnostics is biopsies, which is taking samples, sometimes repeatedly, from tissue that is potentially cancerous. Partially, biopsies take place while removing tumors. Whether primary tumor surgery or a biopsy is obligatory, can only be estimated by specialized doctors working closely together. The sampled tissue is microscopically examined by a pathologist. In addition, it is often also tested on a deeper, molecular level. Pathologists search for certain metabolic characteristics or genetic changes that may be vital for targeted state-of-the-art treatments.
A specific type of biopsy is bone marrow biopsy that is performed by an oncologist at the posterior pelvic bone. It is carried out as an outpatient procedure with local anesthesia in case of presumptive leukemia or lymphoma (lymphatic cancer), and it is generally not as strenuous as one might expect.