Lung Cancer Diagnosis

Explore advanced lung cancer treatment options available in China.

Why going to China for cancer treatment?

Lung cancer diagnosis often starts with an imaging test to look at the lungs. If you have symptoms that worry you, a healthcare professional might start with an X-ray. If you smoke or used to smoke, you might have an imaging test to look for signs of lung cancer before you develop symptoms.

Testing healthy people for lung cancer

People with an increased risk of lung cancer may consider yearly lung cancer screening using low-dose CT scans. Lung cancer screening is generally offered to people 50 and older who smoked heavily for many years. Screening also is offered to people who have quit smoking in the past 15 years.

Discuss your lung cancer risk with your healthcare professional. Together you can decide whether lung cancer screening is right for you.

Tests to diagnose lung cancer

If your healthcare professional thinks you may have lung cancer, a number of tests can be used to look for cancerous cells and to rule out other conditions.

Tests may include:

  • Imaging tests. Imaging tests make pictures of the body. They can show the location and size of the lung cancer. Tests might include X-ray, MRICT and positron emission tomography, which also is called a PET scan.
  • Sputum cytology. Sputum is the mucus that is coughed up from the lungs. If you are coughing up sputum, it can be looked at under a microscope. The sputum can sometimes show lung cancer cells.
  • Biopsy. A biopsy is a procedure to remove a sample of tissue for testing in a lab.

    Your healthcare team can perform a lung cancer biopsy several ways. One way is bronchoscopy. During bronchoscopy, a healthcare professional passes a lighted tube with a camera down your throat into your lungs to examine the area. Special tools can be passed through the tube to collect a sample of tissue.

    Mediastinoscopy also is an option. During mediastinoscopy, an incision is made at the base of your neck. Surgical tools are then inserted behind your breastbone to take tissue samples from lymph nodes.

    Another option is a needle biopsy. In a needle biopsy, your healthcare professional uses X-ray or CT images to guide a needle through the skin on your chest. The needle goes into the lung tissue to collect cells that could be cancerous.

    A biopsy sample also may be taken from lymph nodes or other areas where cancer has spread.

Your cancer cells will be carefully tested in a lab to find out what type of lung cancer you have. The results can help determine the likely outcome of your cancer, called the prognosis, and guide your treatment.

Tests to determine the extent of the cancer

If you’re diagnosed with lung cancer, you may have other tests to see if the cancer has spread. These tests help your healthcare team find out the extent of your cancer, also called the stage. Cancer staging tests often involve imaging tests. The tests might look for signs of cancer in your lymph nodes or in other parts of your body. Your healthcare team uses the cancer staging test results to help create your treatment plan.

Imaging tests may include MRICT, bone scans and PET scan. Not every test is right for every person. Talk with your healthcare professional about which procedures will work for you.

The stages of lung cancer range from 1 to 4. The lowest number means that the cancer is small and only in the lung. As the cancer grows larger or spreads outside of the lungs, the numbers get higher. A stage 4 lung cancer has spread to other areas of the body.

In small cell lung cancer, the stages may be called limited or extensive. In the limited stage, the cancer affects one lung and the area around it. In the extensive stage, the cancer has spread to the other lung or to other parts of the body.

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Our caring team of experts can help you with lung cancer-related health concerns.

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