If your medical history, physical exam, or chest
X-ray suggest that lung cancer is present, your doctor may recommend other
tests, such as:
CT scan of the lungs, sometimes with transthoracic
needle aspiration biopsy (TNAB) of a lung nodule. A needle biopsy uses a needle
inserted through the chest wall to remove a sample of lung tissue (biopsy). This
usually is done if the abnormal lung tissue is located close to the chest wall.
Imaging procedures such as
fluoroscopy may also be used to help guide the needle
to the right spot.
Sputum cytology to evaluate the type of any abnormal
cells that are present in your mucus.
Thoracentesis to take a sample of the fluid around
your lungs to evaluate the type of any abnormal cells. Thoracentesis is done if
you have a large collection of fluid around your lung (pleural effusion). Thoracentesis is sometimes used to find out why you have
fluid collecting around your lung. Other times it is just to remove the fluid
and make it easier for you to breathe.
Lung biopsy to evaluate the type of any abnormal
Video-assisted thoracoscopy (VATS) to take a biopsy of lung
tissue through a small incision between two ribs with the aid of a thin,
lighted tube (videoscope) and small surgical instruments.
Positron emission tomography (PET). PET scanning can
help determine whether a lung mass (tumor) or enlarged lymph node is cancerous.
PET may help determine whether surgery is a treatment option. PET scanning may
also be used after treatment to see how well the treatment worked. PET scanning
can be used to look for areas of the liver, adrenal gland, or bone that may
show where lung cancer has spread.
After the type of lung cancer has been diagnosed, testing
is done to find out whether the cancer has spread (metastasized) to other
organs in your body and to determine the
stage of the cancer. Treatment of lung cancer is based
on the stage of the cancer. Tests used to determine whether the cancer has
spread may include:
Mediastinoscopy to take biopsies of
lymph nodes to find out whether the cancer has spread
to the chest behind the breastbone (mediastinum).
Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS).
In this test, a small
ultrasound probe at the end of the
endoscope is placed down the throat to the chest area.
The ultrasound can help detect cancer behind the breast bone or in lymph nodes
in the area. EUS may also be used to guide a biopsy of the lung, lymph nodes, or other areas.