Skip to content

Lung Cancer Health Center

Font Size

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:

Recommended Related to Lung Cancer

Stage IV NSCLC Treatment

Forty percent of patients with newly diagnosed non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) have stage IV disease. Treatment goals are to prolong survival and control disease-related symptoms. Treatment options include cytotoxic chemotherapy and targeted agents. Factors influencing treatment selection include comorbidity, performance status (PS), histology, and molecular genetic features of the cancer. Radiation therapy and surgery are generally used in selective cases for symptom palliation. Standard...

Read the Stage IV NSCLC Treatment article > >

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: September 19, 2013
    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.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Broken cigarette
    Do you know the myths from the facts?
    man with a doctor
    Our health check will steer you in the right direction.
     
    sauteed cherry tomatoes
    Fight cancer one plate at a time.
    Lung cancer xray
    See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
     
    15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore
    FEATURE
    Lung Cancer Risks Myths and Facts
    SLIDESHOW
     
    cancer fighting foods
    SLIDESHOW
    Improving Lung Cancer Survival Targeted Therapy
    VIDEO
     
    Lung Cancer Surprising Differences Between Sexes
    VIDEO
    Pets Improve Your Health
    SLIDESHOW
     
    Vitamin D
    SLIDESHOW
    Lung Cancer Surgery Options
    VIDEO
     

    WebMD Special Sections