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How is a biopsy used to confirm diagnosis of lung cancer?

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Though tests of mucus or lung fluid may reveal fully developed cancer cells, doctors will usually confirm the diagnosis through a biopsy. Using bronchoscopy, the doctor guides a thin, lighted tube through the nose or mouth and down the air passages to the site of the tumor, from where he removes a tiny tissue sample. 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 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. 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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Are annual chest X-rays recommended for lung cancer screening?

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