How Is Lung Cancer Diagnosed?

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With growing health concerns looming in the country, we thought we’d take this month to let you know about one particularly large health risk in this country: lung cancer. Lung cancer kills more people than prostate cancer, colon cancer, and breast cancer combined. The good news is that early diagnosis can greatly improve a person’s chance of surviving this condition. Below are some of the ways that lung cancer can be diagnosed:

Doctor talking to a male patient holding a chart

Imaging Tests

There are a variety of imaging tests that can be used to diagnose lung cancer. X-rays are an example of an imaging test. X-rays can reveal an abnormal nodule or mass. A CT scan may also be ordered. It can reveal a lesion that may not show up on an x-ray.

Biopsy

A biopsy involves taking a sample of cells from the lungs. There are several ways that a biopsy can be performed. The doctor can take a sample of cells by performing a bronchoscopy. This procedure involves passing a lighted tube down the throat and into the lungs. The doctor can also perform a biopsy surgically by making an incision along the base of the neck and inserting the surgical tools into the breastbone. Tissue samples will be taken from the breastbone.

A needle biopsy is another option. This involves uses CT images or X-rays to guide a needle into the lungs to get a sample of the tissue. If the cancer has spread, then a biopsy may be taken from other parts of the body.

Sputum Cytology

The sputum is the mucus that is coughed up from the lower airways. If a person is coughing up sputum, then it may be examined underneath a microscope. In some cases, lung cancer cells may be present in sputum.

Keep in mind that additional tests may be ordered if the cancer has spread beyond the lungs. The type of treatment that is recommended for lung cancer is dependent upon the stage of cancer.

As your trusted insurance agency, we are here to make sure you are aware of this disease so you can learn how to increase your chances of staying healthy. Of course, you want to make sure you have health insurance coverage from an independent agency that cares for you – so contact us today to stay covered! *

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