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What is a biopsy to detect esophageal cancer?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

All cancer is caused by specific abnormalities in tiny structures called cells that make up the body. Cells are constantly changing and, when needed, they divide to make new versions of themselves. Some changes that occur to cells can cause them to divide more frequently than necessary, leading to a mass of abnormal cells (a tumor). During an esophageal biopsy, a doctor removes numerous cells of the esophagus using a tool guided down the throat of the affected person. The cells can be examined to see if one of these cancer-causing changes has occurred to them.

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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.