We want people with suspected lung cancer to have a quicker and more accurate diagnosis followed by faster access to treatment. That’s why we’re raising money for London’s first one stop NHS lung cancer diagnostic service.

The introduction of a medical thoracoscopy service at the Royal Free Hospital will see patients with a fluid-filled lung cavity get same-day treatment and diagnostic procedures, meaning those receiving subsequent oncology care are fitter and stronger when their treatment starts, maximising the likelihood of a positive outcome.

How you can help

We need your support to move this pilot from vision to reality. It will cost £115,000 to bring this innovative technology to patients at the Royal Free Hospital. Your donation could make a life-changing difference by bringing the future forwards for cancer patients.

How it works 

One fifth of respiratory patients present with fluid in the chest cavity. To determine if this is a symptom of cancer, patients are currently referred for a lung biopsy to thoracic surgical teams in specialist surgical centres. Patients wait on average between 2-4 weeks before being admitted to the surgical centre for the procedure. It is undertaken under general anaesthesia and requires an overnight stay.

We want to fund a new thoracoscopy procedure at the Royal Free Hospital which would enable the examination of the space between the lung and chest wall without the need for surgery.

Thoracoscopy uses a specialist camera to let doctors look at the pleura (lining of the lung) and the area surrounding the lungs. It allows fluid to be drained from the pleural space, the pleura to be biopsied and treatment to be given to the lining of the lung to prevent more fluid from building up, all in one procedure.

Because it requires only a small incision, and can delivered with local anaesthesia or sedation, it is much less invasive than more conventional diagnostic procedures and patients have a faster recovery with less discomfort or pain.

“Medical thoracoscopy is the means by which we can have a direct look inside the chest cavity, the space that’s outside the lung but inside the rib cage. This is a space that’s affected by many cancers and some benign diseases as well, in particular lung cancer.”

Headshot of a doctor.

“Having access to this space and being able to take the fluid away will relieve breathlessness; taking bigger biopsies will reduce the need for patients to have further onward, repeat biopsies and will really speed up their pathway as well.

“Even if their results turn out to be negative, the anxiety induced is huge and so if we can do anything to reduce that, it would be a really big step forward for us.”

Dr Anant Patel , consultant respiratory physician, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

The difference you will make

You could help speed up the diagnosis of lung cancer by up to four weeks, making a huge difference to clinical outcomes.

The new equipment will enable respiratory physicians at the Royal Free Hospital to take a lung biopsy in the respiratory clinic and on the same day, saving valuable time for those patients who are then confirmed to have cancer. Treatment for the fluid in the lung cavity is delivered as part of the same procedure with no need for an overnight stay in hospital.

Thoracoscopy is less invasive and less traumatic for patients compared with the surgical alternative.  As a result, and because of the quicker diagnosis and treatment plan, patients with lung cancer are fitter and stronger when starting their subsequent oncology treatment.