The prognosis for tracheobronchial tumours remains poor. Most patients can be offered only palliation. When the main symptom is breathlessness or refractory haemoptysis from a large airway tumour endoscopic treatment may be very effective. Over the last decade most attention has focused on the neodymium YAG laser. This often produces dramatic effects but has some important limitations. In the last few years better techniques for stenting and intrabronchial radiotherapy (brachytherapy) have also been developed. This article discusses the range of techniques now available and aims to help clinicians decide which patients may benefit from referral to centres providing these techniques.
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