What is an endoscopy?

An endoscopy is a test that looks inside the body using an instrument called an endoscope.

An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube. The tube has a light and a camera at the end. It is passed into the body to help doctors see inside.

Endoscopy tests can be used to help diagnose cancer. They can help doctors to find out more about your symptoms. They can also be used to give some types of treatment from inside the body.

An endoscopy may also be used to remove a small sample of tissue from inside the body. This is called a biopsy.

Upper endoscopy

When the endoscope is used to look at the upper end of the digestive system it is called an upper endoscopy. During this test the endoscope is passed through the mouth and throat. This test may have other names depending on the area examined:

Colonoscopy

When the endoscope is used to look at the large bowel it is called a colonoscopy. During this test the endoscope is passed into the back passage.

Other types of endoscopy

Other endoscopy tests include:

  • Bronchoscopy
    bronchoscopy looks inside the airways and lungs.
  • Cystoscopy
    cystoscopy looks inside the bladder.
  • Laparoscopy
    laparoscopy is a small operation that uses an endoscope to look inside the tummy (abdomen) or pelvis.
  • Laryngoscopy
    laryngoscopy looks inside the part of the throat called the larynx.
  • Nasendoscopy
    nasendoscopy looks at the back of the mouth, nose and throat.
  • Hysteroscopy
  • EGD (Esophagogastroduodenoscopy).

We have more information about different tests in our A-Z list. If you need information about a type of endoscopy and cannot find it, please call our support line on 0808 808 00 00 (7 days a week 8am-8pm).

About our information

  • References

    Below is a sample of the sources used in our small bowel cancer information. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at cancerinformationteam@macmillan.org.uk

    Cusack J et al. Diagnosis and staging of small bowel neoplasms. Up to date (accessed February 2019).


  • Reviewers

    This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editor, Professor Tim Iveson, Consultant Medical Oncologist.

    Our cancer information has been awarded the PIF TICK. Created by the Patient Information Forum, this quality mark shows we meet PIF’s 10 criteria for trustworthy health information.

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