You usually have a biopsy to find out for certain if you have lung cancer. A doctor or nurse takes samples of cells or tissue from the abnormal area. They look at the biopsy samples under a microscope to check for cancer cells.
There are different ways of doing a biopsy. Your cancer doctor or nurse will talk to you about the type of biopsy you will have.
During a bronchoscopy, a doctor or nurse uses a thin, flexible tube (bronchoscope) to look inside your airways and lungs. The tube has a tiny camera on the end. The camera shows a picture of the area on a screen. They can take samples of cells (biopsies) from your lung or airways using the bronchoscope.
Before the test, you should not eat or drink anything for a few hours.
The nurse or doctor gives you a sedative to help you relax. They also spray a local anaesthetic onto the back of your throat to numb it. After this, they pass the bronchoscope through your nose or mouth and down into your windpipe (trachea).
A bronchoscopy usually takes up to 30 minutes. Afterwards, you should not eat or drink for at least 1 hour. You can go home as soon as the sedation has worn off.
You cannot drive for 24 hours after the sedation. You may have a sore throat for a couple of days.