Day 5- DIAGNOSTIC TESTING for LUNG CANCER
Most Lung Cancers are found because they are causing problems, and many are found while trying to diagnose an entirely different problem than suspected Lung Cancer. If the results of your history and physical exam suggest you might have lung cancer, your health care provider will recommend tests specifically to look for it. These could include imaging tests, cytology and/or biopsies.
3 *Primary* Types of Diagnostic Testing:
Results of sophisticated testing can tell your doctor the specific characteristics of your cells that can help determine your prognosis and guide your treatment.
Imaging Tests: An X-ray image of your lungs may reveal a nodule (lump) or abnormal mass. A CT Scan (Computed Tomography) might disclose the presence of small lesions (a ‘lesion’ is a tumor or tumor-like condition) in your lung/s or distant parts of your body that might not be seen on an X-ray. An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) uses strong magnets and sound waves to view soft tissue areas, such as the brain and spinal cord. A Bone Scan uses a series of images taken after injecting a small amount of radioactive chemicals, which tend to accumulate and can be seen in areas of bone affected by cancer. Finally, a PET Scan (Positron Emission Tomography), consists of having an injection with a slightly radioactive form of sugar that tends to collect in cancer cells, which are then able to be seen via a special camera creating pictures of the radioactive centers of the body if cancer is present. Sometimes a CT and PET Scan are combined, allowing radiologists to see enhanced CT imaging after the PET radioactive materials are introduced into the body for the PET Scan.
Cytology & Blood Tests: Early morning sputum (mucus from the lungs) analysis under a microscope, known as Sputum Cytology, may be a diagnostic tool for certain cancers that start in the major airways of the lung, such as most small cell and squamous cell lung cancers. While Blood Tests do not diagnose Lung Cancer, they can be a good indicator of overall health. A CBC (Complete Blood Count) and other blood chemistry tests can help discern if the liver is working efficiently, for example, or that bone pain could be attributed to higher than normal levels of calcium and alkaline phosphatase (and therefore possible cancer cell invasion), etc.
Tissue Sample Biopsy: A sample of cells is removed from the body via 1) a bronchoscopy (using a lighted tube, inserted down the throat and into the lungs, to examine possible abnormal areas of the lungs), 2) mediastinoscopy (when samples from the lymph nodes are extracted from behind the breastbone via surgical tools inserted through an incision made at the base of the neck), or 3) needle biopsy (during which a needle is inserted, to collect suspicious cells, through the chest wall or suspect organ/s). Analysis of the cancer cells in a lab will reveal what type of lung cancer you or your loved one have.
RESOURCES: 1) https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/lung-cancer/learn-about-lung-cancer/how-is-lung-cancer-diagnosed/; 2) https://www.lungcancer.org/find_information/publications/163-lung_cancer_101/267-diagnosing_lung_cancer; 3) https://www.cancer.org/cancer/small-cell-lung-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/how-diagnosed.html
See more simple, direct & loving lung cancer facts at the below link.