- Billirubin – A substance that is formed when red blood cells break down. It becomes part of bile, which is produced by the liver. A buildup of bilirubin can cause jaundice. Bilirubin levels are often tested to monitor liver or bile duct function.
- Biological therapy – A type of therapy that stimulates the immune system to help fight cancer. Biological therapy also may be used to lessen side effects or treatment. It may be referred to as immunotherapy.
- Biopsy – Removal of cells from the body to see if they are cancerous. A doctor examines the cells under a microscope, comparing them to normal cells. Techniques to remove cells include:
- Fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsies use a needle attached to a syringe to needle core biopsy. Sometimes doctores use an ultrasound or a computed axial tomography, or CT, scan to view the tumor and assist them with needle placement.
- During an excisional biopsy, a surgeon removes an entire tumor. During an incisional biopsy, only a small amount of tumor is removed. Both of these procedures involve a surgeon cutting through the skin. Sometimes the surgery requires general anesthesia, and sometimes it can be done by simply numbing the area to be cut (local anesthesia).
- Bone marrow aspiration – Removal of cells from the bone marrow. The doctor usually takes the sample from the hip bone after numbing the area. In a bone marrow aspiration, the doctor uses a small needle attached to a syringe to remove a few cells. In a bone morrow biopsy, the doctor uses a larger needle to remove small amount of bone and marrow. Patients usually fell some pressure during either procedure and sometimes feel uncomfortable. It is helpful to try to remain as relaxed as possible during the procedure.
- Bone scan – Bone scans use nuclear medicine imaging to spot cancer in the bone. A radioactive substance is injected into a vein and is attracted to areas of cancer, and then radioactivity is recorded by a special camera as a picture. There is a phenomenon called “normal physiological uptake”. which may vary from individual to individual. Also, previous trauma or fractures can elicit a positive signal as well.
- Brachytherapy – Brachytherapy is radiation treatment insde the body, placed as close to the cancer as possible.
- Bronchoscopy – A bronchoscopy uses a bendable fiber-optic camera to view the throat and lungs. In most cases, the patient is sedated and a local anesthetic is sprayed or swabbed over the mouth, tongue, and throat. Biopsies and secretions are collected during the procedure. Your throat may be sore after the procedure.