Thoracic Pathology

Thoracic pathology is the examination of tissues from the organs within the thorax (chest). 

Primarily this comprises pulmonary pathology, which is the study of lesions within the lung, and of the pleura (the tissue on the outer surface of the lung).  This includes both malignant (cancerous) and benign (non-cancerous) lesions, as well as diffuse inflammatory diseases (interstitial lung diseases), and pleural lesions such as mesothelioma.

Other less common thoracic pathology involves lesions of the thymus and heart, as well as lymphomas, germ cell tumours and soft tissue tumours.

Our specialist thoracic pathologists examine cytology specimens (cells obtained from body fluids such as sputum or pleural fluid, or through a very thin needle placed into a lesion), as well as small biopsies and large resection (surgical) specimens, to diagnose thoracic lesions. 

We also provide diagnostic support for the respiratory clinicians obtaining BAL (bronchoalveolar lavage) specimens for differential cell counts, to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of interstitial lung diseases.

We are regularly in contact with our colleagues within the Molecular Oncology and Cytogenetics departments, who provide specialist testing of tumour tissues to detect genetic mutations which may respond to targeted anti-cancer treatments.

Our thoracic pathologists attend multidisciplinary meetings for Lung Cancer, and Interstitial Lung Disease.

Meet the Thoracic Pathology team: