NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer - page 25

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NCCN Guidelines for Patients
®
: Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Version 1.2014
Part 3: Testing for lung cancer
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3.3 Biopsies of pleural fluid
Type of biopsy
Thoracentesis
Thoracoscopy
Thoracentesis
Excess fluid may build up in the pleural cavity if cancer is in the pleura. This
excess fluid is called pleural effusion. However, other medical conditions can
cause pleural effusion, so a biopsy is done to rule out cancer. For thoracentesis,
a needle is inserted between the ribs into the chest cavity to remove fluid. The
cells from the fluid are then looked at with a microscope to see if there are
cancer cells.
Thoracoscopy
If cancer isn’t found by thoracentesis, a thoracoscopy may be done. This
biopsy requires general anesthesia since a thoracoscope is inserted through a
cut between the ribs. Thoracoscopes work much like bronchoscopes allowing
doctors to see any abnormal tissue. Samples can be collected with different
types of tools. This surgery may cause some pain and swelling and will leave
a small scar. This test is also called a VATS (
v
ideo-
a
ssisted
t
horacic
s
urgery)
biopsy.
Definitions:
Bronchoscope:
A thin,
long tool used to do work in
the airways
Bronchus:
The airway that
enters the lung
General anesthesia:
A controlled loss of
wakefulness from drugs
Local anesthesia:
A loss
of feeling in a small area of
the body caused by drugs
Lymph node:
A small
group of disease-fighting
cells
Pleura
:
The two layers of
tissue lining around the
lungs
Pleural cavity:
The space
between the two layers of
pleura
Trachea:
The air passage
between the throat and
bronchi
Ultrasound:
Use of sound
waves to make pictures
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