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How do doctors diagnose non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC)?

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First, your doctor will talk with you and ask questions such as:  

He'll also give you a physical exam. You will need tests, too.

  • When did you first notice problems?
  • How have you been feeling?
  • Are you coughing or wheezing?
  • Does anything make your symptoms better or worse?
  • Do you, or did you, smoke?
  • Has anyone in your family had lung cancer?

From: Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

College of American Pathologists: "Lung Cancer: Lung Adenocarcinoma."

National Cancer Institute: "General Information About Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer," "Eating Problems and Ways To Manage Them," "Your Feelings: Learning You Have Cancer."

Medscape: "Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment & Management."

University of Southern California: "A Patient's Guide to Lung Surgery."

Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library: "Mediastinoscopy."

LungCancer.org: "Types and Staging of Lung Cancer."

Medline Plus: "Radiation Therapy."

American Cancer Society: "Photodynamic Therapy," "Managing symptoms of advanced cancer, by location," "Lung Cancer (Non-Small Cell)," "Caring for the Patient With Cancer at Home."

UpToDate: "Patient information: Non-small cell lung cancer treatment; stage I to III cancer (Beyond the Basics)."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on March 01, 2017

SOURCES:

College of American Pathologists: "Lung Cancer: Lung Adenocarcinoma."

National Cancer Institute: "General Information About Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer," "Eating Problems and Ways To Manage Them," "Your Feelings: Learning You Have Cancer."

Medscape: "Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment & Management."

University of Southern California: "A Patient's Guide to Lung Surgery."

Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library: "Mediastinoscopy."

LungCancer.org: "Types and Staging of Lung Cancer."

Medline Plus: "Radiation Therapy."

American Cancer Society: "Photodynamic Therapy," "Managing symptoms of advanced cancer, by location," "Lung Cancer (Non-Small Cell)," "Caring for the Patient With Cancer at Home."

UpToDate: "Patient information: Non-small cell lung cancer treatment; stage I to III cancer (Beyond the Basics)."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on March 01, 2017

NEXT QUESTION:

What imaging tests are used to diagnose small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC)?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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