In the case of suspected cancer, for example in a woman's breast, the breast will be thoroughly examined and imaging tests will be performed (e.g. mammography). If the results are suspicious, a biopsy will be taken and examined by a pathologist.
Looking at the processed tissue enables pathologists to provide a diagnosis and to initiate further analysis on a molecular level to get specific diagnoses not available in blood or other body fluids.
Diagnosis based on examination of tissue can tell the physician the exact tumour type and degree of malignancy and helps to identify potential causes and consequences.