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Q. My uncle has fluid in the left lung with a lump in it. Is it necessary to do a biopsy for the lump?

Answered by
Dr. Amolkumar W Diwan
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 16, 2019

Hello doctor,

My uncle is suffering from breathing problems for ten days. Now the condition is that he cannot even inhale oxygen through the nose. He is inhaling through his mouth. And he is so weak that he cannot use the restroom by himself. Doctor adviced him to do echocardiography. The report shows the presence of fluid in the left lungs. We admitted him to the hospital immediately. Doctor removed the fluid of about 1.5 liters out of 5 liters, and the fluid is reddish. Again they did a CT scan, and they are telling that a lump is seen in the upper side of the left lung. They want to do a biopsy. But we do not want to do so because, if it is a malignancy, then we do not want to operate that. Please suggest what to do.

Dr. Amolkumar W Diwan

Allergy Specialist Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors)


Welcome to

As you said, your uncle is suffering from left pleural effusion with left lung cancer.

According to your history, he is very symptomatic and needs draining of fluid frequently to relieve dyspnea. Also, your doctor has rightly said that we must do a biopsy of the lump, to find out the exact type of cancer to start appropriate chemotherapy or radiotherapy as per the report. It is not necessary to do surgery all the time.

But if he is having a recurrent collection of pleural fluid, then he might need a procedure called Pleurodesis to close the space around the lungs to prevent the recurrent filling of fluid.

So it is up to the wish of the patient and relatives to start chemotherapy or not after the diagnosis of cancer is done. Otherwise, you can continue with only symptomatic (palliative) treatment and frequent tapping of fluid to relieve dyspnea.

I hope this helps.

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