Is a biopsy necessary to diagnose a carcinoid tumor?

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Ajay K. Sahajpal, MD
Transplant Surgery
No. A biopsy is not necessary in general to diagnose a carcinoid tumor. A thorough history and physical with special labs/urine tests and biochemical testing for hormones and radiographic imaging is typically adequate to make the diagnosis.
A biopsy is not usually necessary to diagnose a carcinoid tumor. A review of symptoms and a urine test can usually diagnose the presence of a carcinoid tumor. However, these tumors are often small, and it can be difficult to find them. CT scans, MRI tests, and x-rays using an injection of dye may be used, but exploratory surgery may be necessary. If a mass is found, an excisional biopsy may be performed to remove the tumor and analyze it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.