What tests are used to diagnose Lung Cancer?

The first test that doctors usually request in a person with suspected lung cancer is a Chest x-ray. Most lung cancers will show up on an x-ray, and sometimes people find out they have lung cancer while having an x-ray for a different reason. A sample of sputum (spit) may also be taken and sent to a laboratory to check for cancer cells. To check how large the tumor is and how far it has spread, a CT, MRI, or PET scan may be done. A viewing tube called a bronchoscope may be passed through mouth or nose into the lungs to view the tumor and take a sample for pathology testing. Alternatively, a needle may be inserted through the chest wall (under CT scan guidance) to take a sample of the suspected cancer for pathology testing. Blood tests, bone scan and lung function tests may also be undertaken to help guide treatment.

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