A biopsy is a procedure to remove a piece of tissue or a sample of cells from your body so that it can be analyzed in a laboratory. This is done under local anesthesia and removed by either using a scalpel or a punch, which removes a small cylindrical portion of tissue

Biopsies are often used to diagnose cancer or similar conditions involving abnormal cell development.

While imaging tests, such as X-rays, are helpful in detecting masses or areas of abnormality, they alone can’t differentiate cancerous cells from noncancerous cells. For the majority of cancers, the only way to make a definitive diagnosis is to perform a biopsy to collect cells for closer examination.