How Is Lung Cancer Diagnosed?

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women—not including skin cancer—and accounts for 14 percent of all new cancers. The most common causes of lung cancer include smoking, secondhand smoke and exposure to certain toxins. However, non-smokers with a family history of lung cancer and cancer survivors who had radiation therapy are also at a higher risk.

Diagnosing lung cancer

There are a number of tests available that can look for cancerous cells in and around the lungs, including:

  • Imaging Tests
    A CT scan uses multiple X-ray scans to create a 2D or 3D image of your lungs. CT scans enable your doctor to see lesions on the lung often not visible with X-ray. PET combines regular CT (computed tomography) with positron-emission tomography. The CT enables doctors to see anatomical structure while the PET scan shows where cancer-cell activity is high. Together, they reveal the cancer’s location and level of metabolic activity. Pathology examination of tumors confirms.
  • Sputum Cytology
    Sputum is a medical term for saliva that’s produced after coughing. In sputum cytology, your doctor will take a sample of this fluid and examine it under a microscope. This is another way your doctor can determine if lung cancer cells are present.
  • Tissue Sample (Biopsy)
    A lung biopsy is a medical procedure in which lung tissue is removed using a special biopsy needle or during surgery. It’s another way to determine whether lung cancer cells are present in the body.

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