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Lung Cancer Health Center

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Lung Cancer - Exams and Tests

Initial tests

Your doctor will first do a physical exam and ask about your medical history to find out your risk for lung cancer and look for any lung problems. The exam may include a chest X-ray and blood test.

If your exam suggests that you may have lung cancer, your doctor may recommend other tests, such as:

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Tests after diagnosis

After 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.

Tests include:

If you have non-small cell lung cancer, your doctor may check for tumor markers (biomarkers), such as EGFR, ALK, and KRAS, that are caused by gene changes (mutations) in cancer cells. This can help your doctor choose the treatment that will work best for you.

Tests before surgery

A person whose lungs aren't working well may not be a good candidate for surgery. If surgery to remove cancer in all or part of a lung is being considered, the following tests may be done:

Screening tests

Screening tests help your doctor look for a certain disease or condition before you have any symptoms. This can increase your chances of finding the problem early, when it's more treatable.

Studies haven't yet shown that routine screening for lung cancer saves lives or prevents lung cancer. But it may help people who have the highest risk for lung cancer-people 55 and older who are or were heavy smokers. Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of lung cancer screening.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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