The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


Leeds Cancer Centre

Diagnostic Procedures


Common diagnostic procedures to identify lung cancer or mesothelioma are outlined in the Lung Investigation Booklet and include

  • CT scan
  • PET scan
  • Bronchoscopy  - this procedure involves passing examining the air passages in the lungs and will examines the airways. Biopsies are also usually taken 
  • Endobronchial Ultrasound (often called EBUS)  - this is similar to a bronchoscopy but also looks at the lymph nodes using an ultrasound probe and will take biopsies from these nodes
  • Lung Biopsy - this procedure involves getting a very small piece of lung tissue by passing a needle through the skin into your chest and into the lung
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound - this procedure examines and biopsies enlarged lymph glands that have been seen in the chest through the oesophagus(gullet). Biopsies are usually taken
  • Fine Needle Aspiration  - this procedure involves using a thin needle to remove samples of tissue (biopsy) or fluid from an organ of the body or a lump found under the skin. Often this is from a neck lymph node or from an organ such as the liver or adrenal gland.
  • Removal of pleural fluid  - if fluid builds up in the lining of the lung this will need to be removed to try to identify the cause. Sometimes large volumes of fluid can be removed and managed through various treatments. 
  • Lung Function test - this test assess the function of the lungs by using a specialised breathing machine
  • Exercise Test - this tests assess the heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Medical Thoracoscopy
  • Surgical Bronchoscopy  - this involves a general anaesthetic to allow the surgeon to examine the airways of the lung and to take a biopsy
  • Mediastinoscopy - this involves a general anaesthetic to allow the surgeon to take biopsies of the lymph glands in the middle of the chest by using a small incision in the breast bone
  • Mediastinotomy - this involves a general anaesthetic to allow the surgeon to take biopsies of the lymph glands that need to be taken through an incision in the upper chest wall by the collar bone
  • Video Assisted Thorascopic (VATs) Lung Biopsy - this involves a general anaesthetic and allows the surgeon to take samples of the lung, or the lining of the lung.