What happens during a needle biopsy for lung cancer?

During a needle biopsy for lung cancer, the doctor places a needle through the chest wall. A chest x-ray, computed tomography (CT) scan or real-time x-ray (fluoroscopy) helps guide him to the tumor. A sample of tissue is removed from the tumor. The sample is examined under a microscope to see if cancer cells are present.

A biopsy is necessary for your doctor to confirm a cancer diagnosis. It also helps identify the specific type of cancer and its spread (or stage).

Sometimes a needle biopsy will be done in another area of the body, such as the liver or adrenal gland, to determine if the cancer has spread.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.