Lung Cancer Biopsy
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If the results of certain imaging tests indicate lung cancer, your team at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) will perform a lung biopsy procedure to make an accurate and final diagnosis.
During a lung biopsy procdure, your doctor removes a small piece of tissue or fluid from the chest so it can be examined under a microscope to check for cancer cells. A biopsy reveals which type of cancer is present, and whether the cancer began at the site of the biopsy or elsewhere in the body.
Bronchoscopy Procedure for Lung Cancer Diagnosis
Our doctors use minimally invasive lung biopsy techniques with the help of advanced bronchoscopy technology. We use this technology to evaluate suspicious masses that appear on imaging scans to determine whether or not they are cancerous. Bronchoscopy procedures can find cancerous cells that surgical and imaging tools may not detect.
Our lung cancer patients benefit from bronchoscopy because it minimizes the risks of more invasive lung biopsies, which require a needle to be inserted through the chest wall into the lung or, in some cases, surgery under general anesthesia. In addition, this helps avoid overtreating healthy tissues, which can lead to a higher rate of side effects.
We offer the following innovative bronchoscopy procedures at CTCA:
Video: Navigational Bronchoscopy Medical AnimationMedical animation
Navigational Bronchoscopy – A technology that combines advanced imaging techniques with electromagnetic navigation, to help diagnose and treat cancer anywhere in the lungs. Navigational bronchoscopy allows our cancer doctors to reach distant tumors, by advancing the scope into smaller bronchi or into bronchi that are blocked by a tumor. Our cancer doctors can biopsy suspicious masses that may have been missed by other imaging devices and determine whether or not cancerous cells are present.
Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS) – A technology that uses ultrasound guidance to detect cancerous cells in the lymph nodes of the chest. During an EBUS, the bronchoscope is fitted with an ultrasound device to reach the lymph nodes and remove a sample of tissue. EBUS is a less invasive alternative to a mediastinoscopy, a surgical procedure requiring a series of incisions in the chest under general anesthesia. Using EBUS, your physician can perform the same procedure using a very thin needle aspiration to obtain a tissue sample of the lymph nodes in the chest.
Autoflourescence Bronchoscopy – Also known as blue-light bronchoscopy, this technology is used to find and diagnose tiny tumors. Under the blue light (a.k.a., fluorescence), healthy tissues appear green and abnormal tissues appear reddish-brown. Our physicians are able to identify cancerous cells in the bronchial tubes that may not be visible under white light examination and remove a small sample of tissue for further analysis.
How Is a Bronchoscopy Procedure Performed?
A bronchoscopy is a procedure that allows your physician to look at the airways in the lungs, or the bronchi, through a thin viewing instrument called a bronchoscope.
During a bronchoscopy procedure, your physician guides a thin, lighted tube connected to a camera into the lungs. The tube is inserted through the mouth. Before the bronchoscopy, your doctor will use a numbing spray or gel to make the procedure more comfortable. You also may be given some medicine to help you relax.
Your doctor visually examines the vocal cords, the trachea and the bronchi in both lungs. The camera reveals tumors, obstructions and other abnormalities. Depending on the technology used, a variety of tools are used to collect a small sample of lung tissue, fluid or other materials during the procedure. These samples are examined under a microscope and used in conjunction with imaging scans to guide lung cancer treatment decisions.
Bronchoscopy procedures may be used to:
- Perform a lung cancer biopsy and collect tissue samples when other tests, such as a CT scan, reveal suspicious masses in the lung or chest.
- Identify the cause of symptoms such as bleeding in the airway, difficult breathing or a chronic cough.
- Treat growths or tumors in the airway and control bleeding (see Interventional Pulmonology).
- Diagnose and stage lung cancer.
Next Topic: Lung Cancer Staging