Thoracic Cancer Diagnosis

Our experts will get you accurate answers quickly.

Our thoracic cancer team uses advanced technology to help us quickly learn more about your possible tumor. Our goal is to deliver patients a fast and thorough diagnosis so we can move forward with a treatment plan.

In addition to the imaging tests and biopsies discussed on this page, we also are home to Michigan’s only comprehensive Interventional Pulmonology Program. Interventional pulmonology helps doctors diagnose and treat lung cancer and mesothelioma using procedures involving a bronchoscope.

How do you use biopsy to diagnose thoracic cancer?

A biopsy is a procedure in which your doctor takes a tissue sample from inside the body so we can test it further. In most cases, the doctor will order a biopsy to confirm a cancer diagnosis made from an imaging test. In some cases of thoracic cancer, such as thymoma, a biopsy is the only way to diagnose a tumor as cancer. We offer:

Open lung biopsy: The doctor will put you under general anesthesia, make an incision in your chest, and remove a sample of lung tissue. We may leave a tube leading to your lungs in your mouth for a day or two after the procedure to keep your lung from collapsing. We also offer a minimally invasive version of this test,called thoracoscopy. In a thoracoscopy, a thin, flexible tube is inserted through a small incision in the chest.

Pleural biopsy: This procedure is similar to the open lung biopsy, except the incision is made on the side of the chest and several tissue samples may be taken.

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