Lung Cancer Tests and Diagnosis

If you are experiencing certain symptoms and your doctor believes there is a possibility you may have lung cancer, the following tests may be reccommended:
  • Imaging tests: An X-ray image of your lungs may reveal an abnormal mass or nodule. A computed tomography (CT) scan may reveal small lesions in your lungs that might not be detected on an X-ray.
  • Sputum cytology: If you have a cough and are producing sputum, examining the sputum under the microscope may reveal the presence of lung cancer cells.
  • Tissue sample (biopsy): A sample of abnormal cells may be removed in a procedure called a biopsy. Your doctor can perform a biopsy in a number of ways, including:
    • Bronchoscopy: An examination of the abnormal areas of your lungs using a lighted tube that's passed down your throat and into your lungs
    • Mediastinoscopy: A procedure in which an incision is made at the base of your neck and surgical tools are inserted behind your breastbone to extract tissue samples from lymph nodes
    • Needle biopsy: X-ray or CT images are used to guide a needle through your chest wall and into the lung tissue to collect suspicious cells. A biopsy sample may also be taken from lymph nodes or other areas where cancer has spread.

Are you high risk for lung cancer?

If you think you or a loved one is at high risk of developing lung cancer, a low-dose lung CT screening may be beneficial. To learn more, visit the Saint Franics Lung Cancer Screening page.