7 doctors weighed in:

How do you test for lung cancer? What kind of tests do you need to have to check if you have lung cancer?

7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Loki Skylizard
Surgery - Thoracic
2 doctors agree

In brief: CT screening

If there is specific lesion, biopsies will need to be obtained.
Ct scan is used to screen. Lung cancer is often silent until late. However, there is screening for appropriate candidates to help find it early. The following link may help: http://goo.Gl/oqvsp.

In brief: CT screening

If there is specific lesion, biopsies will need to be obtained.
Ct scan is used to screen. Lung cancer is often silent until late. However, there is screening for appropriate candidates to help find it early. The following link may help: http://goo.Gl/oqvsp.
Dr. Loki Skylizard
Dr. Loki Skylizard
Thank
Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
Internal Medicine
2 doctors agree

In brief: A

A lung cancer is typically visualized on a chest x-ray.
However, since a chest x-ray is only two-dimensional and has a low resolution, it will miss small (or hidden, early stage) lung cancers. Eventually a more detailed type of 3d x-ray scan, called a ct chest scan, is needed to accurately visualize the anatomy of the lung cancer and extent of spread. Frequently, ct chest scans can be performed in conjunction with a type of nuclear medicine scan (e.g. Pet scan or bone scan), which can help identify if the tumor has spread to lymph nodes, distant organs or bones. After adequate visualization of the lung cancer, the only definitive way to prove that it is actually a cancer (and also to determine the type of cancer) is to obtain a biopsy. A pulmonologist can perform an outpatient procedure called a flexible bronchoscopy in which a fiber-optic probe is passed into the lung though the nose, and biopsy samples are obtained for diagnosis. Sometimes an interventional radiologist can direct a needle through the skin and chest wall under x-ray guidance to target the tumor and also obtain a biopsy. Another more invasive option is for a thoracic surgeon to confirm the diagnosis and stage of the lung cancer by performing surgical resection of the lung containing the tumor. In some cases, a special type of test called a mediastinoscopy can be used to obtained biopsies of lymph nodes in the chest. This is needed to accurately determine the stage of certain types of lung cancer, and therefore guide the correct therapy.

In brief: A

A lung cancer is typically visualized on a chest x-ray.
However, since a chest x-ray is only two-dimensional and has a low resolution, it will miss small (or hidden, early stage) lung cancers. Eventually a more detailed type of 3d x-ray scan, called a ct chest scan, is needed to accurately visualize the anatomy of the lung cancer and extent of spread. Frequently, ct chest scans can be performed in conjunction with a type of nuclear medicine scan (e.g. Pet scan or bone scan), which can help identify if the tumor has spread to lymph nodes, distant organs or bones. After adequate visualization of the lung cancer, the only definitive way to prove that it is actually a cancer (and also to determine the type of cancer) is to obtain a biopsy. A pulmonologist can perform an outpatient procedure called a flexible bronchoscopy in which a fiber-optic probe is passed into the lung though the nose, and biopsy samples are obtained for diagnosis. Sometimes an interventional radiologist can direct a needle through the skin and chest wall under x-ray guidance to target the tumor and also obtain a biopsy. Another more invasive option is for a thoracic surgeon to confirm the diagnosis and stage of the lung cancer by performing surgical resection of the lung containing the tumor. In some cases, a special type of test called a mediastinoscopy can be used to obtained biopsies of lymph nodes in the chest. This is needed to accurately determine the stage of certain types of lung cancer, and therefore guide the correct therapy.
Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
Thank
Dr. Uma Swamy
Radiation Oncology

In brief: Imaging + Biopsy

Imaging: which can include ct, pet/ct or mri biopsy: any abnormality suspicious for lung cancer will require a biopsy to confirm. Sometimes sputum can be checked but the yield is not that great.
For additional resource: http://www.Cancer.Net/cancer-types/lung-cancer.

In brief: Imaging + Biopsy

Imaging: which can include ct, pet/ct or mri biopsy: any abnormality suspicious for lung cancer will require a biopsy to confirm. Sometimes sputum can be checked but the yield is not that great.
For additional resource: http://www.Cancer.Net/cancer-types/lung-cancer.
Dr. Uma Swamy
Dr. Uma Swamy
Thank
Get help from a real doctor now
Dr. Buck Parker
Board Certified, Surgery
13 years in practice
468K people helped
Continue
108,000 doctors available
Read more answers from doctors