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Lung Cancer

Tests that will assist your doctor in making an accurate diagnosis of lung cancer are:

  • Chest X-ray
  • Computed Tomography (CT Scan)
  • Bronchoscopy: a small scope is passed into the lungs, via the mouth or nose, for direct observation of tumor and to obtain a biopsy.
  • Pulmonary function testing
  • Needle aspiration: A needle is inserted through the chest into the tumor to remove a sample of tissue.
  • Thoracentesis: using a needle, the doctor removes a sample of the fluid that surrounds the lungs to check for cancer cells.
  • Thoracotomy: a surgery to open the chest is sometimes needed to diagnose lung cancer. This procedure is major surgery.
  • Positron-Emission Tomography (PET scan): this test is helpful in detecting lung cancer and identifying the spread of cancer to other organs.

For more information, see the Diagnosing section under Lung Cancer in the Diseases area.

2021 American Association for Respiratory Care