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Biopsy for mesothelioma

What is a biopsy?

During a biopsy, a doctor removes a sample of tissue or fluid from the body. A pathologist inspects the cells under a microscope to see if they are cancerous. If the cells are found to be cancerous, a biopsy can help determine whether the cancer began at the site of the biopsy, or if it started somewhere else in the body and spread to the biopsy site.

Some biopsies are performed under image guidance, such as ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This allows your doctor to collect cells from deeper inside the body. Depending on the type of biopsy performed, you will receive an anesthetic to minimize any pain.

Biopsy medical animation

Video: Biopsy Medical Animation

Medical animation

Biopsy for mesothelioma

Biopsies can be retrieved through a needle or an endoscope, a thin, lighted tube used to see inside the body.

Endoscopic biopsies that may be performed to diagnose mesothelioma include:

  • Thoracoscopy: Used to examine the inside of the chest and obtain a biopsy
  • Mediastinoscopy: Inserted into the chest to look at the space between the lungs and obtain a biopsy.
  • Bronchoscopy: Used to examine and biopsy tissue in the lungs, bronchi (tubes inside the lungs) and trachea (windpipe).
  • Laparoscopy: Used to look inside the abdomen and obtain tissue samples.
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