Lung Cancer Diagnosis
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Lung Cancer diagnosis can be done in various methods. Each of these methods depends upon the patient and the technology available. If your doctor notices an abnormal spot in the chest during an X - ray, he might ask you to undergo a diagnosis for lung cancer
There are various methods for diagnosing lung cancer. If you are facing symptoms of lung cancer such as a cough that lasts for a long term and won't go or chest pain that increases when you breathe or cough or laugh, etc. your doctor will ask you to undergo a diagnosis if you have a few of the symptoms of lung cancer and if you are an active smoker. Yet, passive smokers also have a risk of developing lung cancer.
In order to detect lung cancer, the doctor may perform any of the following:
- Chest X- Rays. An X- Ray is painless. Rays will be passed through the body and the images will be collected on a film. This is one of the first tests the doctor will request to perform. In this test, he will look for some spots that may appear on the lungs. If the doctor finds any abnormalities he will request for further tests to be performed.
- CT scan. A CT scan is known as a computed tomography. Multiple pictures would be taken of you with the help of a special X- Ray. These pictures would then be combined by a computer in order to give detailed images of your body.
- PET scan. This is known as Positron emission Tomography. In this scan, the doctor will inject a certain radioactive sugar into your blood. One of the properties of cancer cells is absorption of sugar in large quantities. Then, with the help of a special camera, the radioactivity of this radioactive sugar can be spotted. The PET scans are used when the doctor suspects a type of lung cancer which is known as non- small cell lung cancer.
- Bone scan. This is one of the last scans that a doctor will perform. In this procedure too, like PET scan, the doctor will inject a radioactive substance into your vein. This however is used in very small amounts. If there is any spot where the bone is not normal, this radioactive substance will build up. This will help the doctor determine the extent of spread of the cancer (If present) and any possible bone damage.
- MRI- this is Magnetic Resonance Imaging. This procedure is similar to that of a CT scan. In this a big magnet is used in order to get detailed images of your body. This procedure too is painless and the result is even more highly detailed images.
These are the scans that the doctor will conduct in order to diagnose lung cancer in your body. Other than this, the doctor may also perform certain test to diagnose it.
- Bronchoscopy: the first bronchoscopy that was successfully performed was in the year 1867 by a German man known as Gustav Killian. In bronchoscopy, the doctor will look at the insides of your lungs with the help of an instrument. The outlet of the instrument will be inserted through the mouth and may also be inserted through the nose. The doctor will then look inside and search for any signs of cancer.
- Suptum Cytology. Your phlegm will be collected and then it will be observed under the microscope where the doctor will look for cells of cancer.
- Fine needle biopsy. A fine needle biopsy is one in which the doctor will insert a needle in the area where he suspects the presence of cancer. He will then draw out a sample of cells from there. In order to guide the needle into the perfect spot the doctor may use an imaging test as above.
- Blood test. The doctor may request you to go through a complete blood count. In this procedure, the doctor will take a sample of your blood and test it. In the results, he will be able to obtain a count of all the red blood cells, white blood cells and the platelets, along with this he will look for any abnormalities in the shape, size, structure and number of the cells. If anything abnormal is found, you may be asked to undergo further examinations.
The above mentioned tests are just some ways to conduct a lung cancer diagnosis. Other than this there are various other ways to conduct a diagnosis. Establishing a result from the diagnosis is one of the most helpful steps in determining the method of treatment and your prognosis.