A thoracoscopy lets the doctor look at the lining around the lungs (pleura) using a thoracoscope. They can take a biopsy of the pleura and remove any fluid.

If tests show you have lung cancer, your specialist usually arranges further tests to find out:

  • what the size and position of the cancer is
  • if it has spread outside the lung.

This is called the stage of the cancer. Knowing the stage helps you and your doctor decide on the best treatment for you.

You may have a thoracoscopy. This lets the doctor look at the lining of the lungs (pleura). It is usually done under a general anaesthetic.

The doctor makes one or two small cuts in your chest. They pass a thin, flexible tube called a thoracoscope into your chest through a cut and take a biopsy of the pleura. They can also remove any fluid that may have collected there.

Video-assisted thorascopy

Sometimes the surgeon attaches a video camera to the thoracoscope. This lets them see the area more clearly.

Waiting for test results can be a difficult time. It may take from a few days to a couple of weeks for the results of your tests to be ready. You may find it helpful to talk with your partner, your family or a close friend. Your specialist nurse or a support organisation can also provide support. You may find it helpful to talk to one of our cancer support specialists on 0808 808 00 00 (7 days a week, 8am to 8pm).