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How are tests used to diagnose lung cancer?

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Though tests of mucus or lung fluid may reveal fully developed cancer cells, diagnosis is usually confirmed through a biopsy. Using bronchoscopy, the patient lightly anesthetized, the doctor guides a thin, lighted tube through the nose or mouth and down the air passages to the site of the tumor, where a tiny tissue sample can be removed. Another procedure uses a CT scan to guide a needle into an abnormality in order to take a biopsy. If the biopsy confirms cancer, other tests will determine the type of cancer and how far it has spread. Nearby lymph nodes can be tested for cancer cells, using a procedure called a mediastinoscopy, which requires general anesthesia, and involves having a small cut made in the front of the neck to pass a hollow, lighted tube into the chest to take biopsies. Endobronchial ultrasound and endoscopic esophageal ultrasound are two other ways to biopsy lymph nodes to test for cancer cells. Both require light anesthesia. Imaging techniques such as CT, MRI, PET, and bone scans can detect cancer that may have spread.

SOURCES: 

National Cancer Institute. 

National Institutes of Health. 

WebMD Medical Reference from the American College of Physicians: “Section 12 VIII Lung Cancer.”

News release, FDA.

American Cancer Society.

American Lung Association. 

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on February 05, 2019

SOURCES: 

National Cancer Institute. 

National Institutes of Health. 

WebMD Medical Reference from the American College of Physicians: “Section 12 VIII Lung Cancer.”

News release, FDA.

American Cancer Society.

American Lung Association. 

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on February 05, 2019

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What are considerations about screening for lung cancer?

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