How is lung cancer usually diagnosed?

Symptom, signs. And imaging, then a biopsy. Cough, wt loss, history of smoking leads to an x-ray, then a ct scan showing location and what else seemingly is involved. A biopsy through a scope or a needle directed by the imaging ct collects cells for analysis. Treatment depends on what is involved, how healthy you are, and what you tolerate.
A new study. The results of the national lung screening trial (nlst) demonstrated that for high risk patients (age >50 years and extensive smoking history) screening low dose ct scan improved survival, and was more effective for finding lung cancers then simple x-ray. Discuss these findings with your doctor.
Xray. Lung cancer is usually first discovered on an xray or ct scan. Ultimately, a biopsy is required to confirm the diagnosis.
I would add to this. ...Informaiton from my colleagues that sometimes lung cancer is diagnosed and treated at the same time. In a healthy patient, with proper staging and a mass that is highly likely to be lung cancer, the best "diagnostic" method may be to take it out. A team of experts that includes a thoracic surgeon is the best way to determine whether this is the case.

Related Questions

Which steps are necessary to diagnose lung cancer?

Suspicion. History physical exam chest x-ray likely ct scan see a lesion, biopsy, hopefully remove! Read more...
First thing. The first step is to find a suspicious nodule or tumor in the lungs, which requires a scan (either xray or ct scan). This can be done for other reasons and find it by accident, done in screening, or done for cough or symptoms. Once a lesion is seen, it needs to be biopsied to confirm it is cancer. Read more...

What's the most relevent test to diagnose non small cell lung cancer?

Bipsy and imaging. The key to diadnosis is the biopsy. This can help determine the subtype which will help guide the course of treatment. Beyond that, the imaging with ct, ct/pet, and MRI will help determine the stage of the cancer. The combination of the stage and the subtype of the cancer will help with treatment decisions as well as prognosis. Read more...
Biopsy. All lung cancers and really all cancers require some sort of biopsy to properly diagnose both to confirm that it is cancer and to determine the type and extent of cancer. Read more...
It depends... ...On level of suspicion and clinical stage. If level of suspicion is high and clinical stage (best guess of potential stage) is i or ii then straight to surgical resection is warranted. Otherwise a ct guided or navigational bronchoscopic lung biopsy. Read more...

Bronchonoscopy lavage for diagnoses of lung cancer?

Test. This is like the pap smear that check women for cancer of the cervix in that the pathologists looks for malignant cells in the washings obtained from the procedure. A negative result does not rule out malignancy however. Read more...
Please Clarify. I do not see a question here. So, if i misunderstand i apologize. Bronchoscopy lavage is commonly used get some cells to see if they are normal or abnormal. And, if they are abnormal are they cancerous or predictable of cancer. Read more...

Give me a hint. What kind of hassle am I facing if doc suspects non-small cell lung cancer? What is required to diagnose?

Biopsy. When a mass or lesion is seen in the lung on xray and ct scan then eventually a biopsy is required. If this is the only spot then biopsy is done by ct guidance of a needle when the lesion is in the periphery or outer aspects of the lung. If the lesion is central then a bronchoscopy (fiber optic tube) into the long is used to get a needle biopsy and washing of the bronchus. Read more...
Testings. If one is suspected to have lung cancer, there will be a bunch of tests to make the diagnosis and stage the disease. That may include blood test, bronchoscopy, biopsy of the cancerous lesion or lymph node, radiological testing with pet/ct scan, lung function test to get ready for surgery if possible. One may need consultation with different specialist including surgeon, medical and radiation docs. Read more...

Can pet scan always diagnose /confirm presence of lung cancer or can only give indication and later biopsy is vital to confirm cancer if a nodule seen?

Bx definitive. A positron emission tomography (pet) scan is an imaging test that uses a radioactive substance called a tracer to look for disease in the body. It is often used to determine the treatment of cancer, if it is spreading, or improving, etc. Used in combination with tests such as ct or mri, it can provide a very high index of suspicion for cancer, but a bx is always definitive and used for tx. Read more...

Are tumors in small cell lung cancer tiny making it hard to diagnose. I have had a negative CTscan but still worried to due to fatigue and weight loss?

Stop worrying . It's the cells that are small, not the tumors. Incipient lung cancers may be there but they're not making you sick yet. Do you have Addison's? Gluten enteropathy? Any of dozens of others? Worrying accomplishes nothing. Rechannek that energy into smoking cessation, exercising, and/or continuing your work up as applicable. Best wishes. Read more...