Biopsy to test for childhood cancer

Biopsy to test for childhood cancer

A biopsy is a test in which a piece of tissue is taken out of the body to be examined for cancer cells. A biopsy can be done using a small needle or it may be done as a formal surgical procedure. It is done under a general anaesthetic. A small dressing will be put on the skin afterwards.

What is a biopsy?

A biopsy is a test in which a piece of tissue is taken out of the body to be examined for cancer cells. A biopsy can be done using a small needle or it may be done as a formal surgical procedure. It is done under a general anaesthetic. A small dressing will be put on the skin afterwards.

See:

Can there be any after effects?

Sometimes there can be a small amount of bleeding from the needle site but this is not common. The nurse will change the dressing and show how to press on the area to stop the bleeding.

Sometimes an infection can start at the needle site. See the section below about removing the dressing to help prevent an infection starting.

What will I need to do at home after my child's discharge from hospital?

  • remove the dressing which is covering the needle site 24 hours after the time the lumbar puncture was done. Follow the directions on the instruction sheet given to you by the nurse in the hospital
  • phone the hospital straight away and tell the doctor or nurse if you see any of these in the area of the needle site:
    • redness
    • heat (feels warmer than skin in other parts of the body)
    • fluid oozing out
  • take your child's temperature if you are in any way concerned. If it is 38 degrees Celsius or higher, phone the hospital straight away and tell the doctor or nurse
  • write down the instructions for stopping pain given to you by the nurse in the hospital. If your child is sore, follow these instructions
  • Important contacts

All the information in the Childhood cancer section of this website has been written by health professionals who work in the field of paediatric oncology. They have been reviewed by the members of the National Child Cancer Network (NZ). Medical information is authorised by the National Child Cancer Network Clinical Leader.

This page last reviewed 26 March 2013.
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