The Different Diagnostic Tests for Lung Cancer
Dr. Sheilane Mabanta explains the different diagnostic tests used in lung cancer
Decatur, TX – Oct 26, 2018 – Lung cancer may not show any signs of symptoms but can be discovered in many different ways during medical procedures. People at high risk of lung cancer should consider taking an annual lung cancer screening test using a low-dose CT scan. Usually, those at the age of 55 and above who are heavy smokers should be screened for lung cancer. If there’s an indication that you may have lung cancer, your doctor will order for various tests to check for the disease.
“You should discuss your lung cancer risk with your doctor to decide whether screening is right for you,” explained Dr. Mabanta. “If you do experience symptoms, careful analysis of your cancer cells will reveal the type of lung cancer you have. Sophisticated testing results will confirm the characteristics of your cells to help determine your prognosis and treatment.”
Some of the diagnostic tests for lung cancer include:
Blood tests – Full blood count tests are usually carried out as initial tests to investigate the possibility of lung cancer among other cancers. Any alterations in the number of red and/or white blood cells may indicate that the body is responding or reacting to disease. When cancer is present, some naturally occurring substances like antibodies, proteins and body chemicals may differ from the normal range.
Imaging tests – A doctor may decide to use an imaging test based on some factors like the persistent symptoms and previous test results. Imaging tests are used to detect tumors to establish how far the disease has spread. They include chest X-rays, fine needle aspiration, CT scan, PET scan, bone scan, MRI scan, and brain scan.
Body tissue tests – Body tissue sample testing is where the body or actual tissue (muscles) is taken and tested in a laboratory to detect the type of cancer cells present such as non-small cell or small cell lung cancer cells.
Sputum cytology – Sputum (phlegm) is a substance produced by the lungs when coughing. Any change in the sputum color, thickness or quantity may be an indication of the presence of lung cancer. The sputum sample undergoes an examination under a microscope to check for cancer cells and find out the changes occurring in the patient's lungs.
Bronchoscopy – This is where the doctor checks the airways (bronchi) and takes biopsy samples of lung tissue.
Thoracotomy – A thoracotomy is performed when the other tests have failed to provide a diagnosis. It is a surgical operation to take a tissue sample or remove a tumor.
Gene mutation testing – Every type of lung cancer has subtypes which are classified by mutations to specific genes. A proper treatment regime can only be tailored after testing for the gene mutations. Most patients with certain mutations benefit from targeted therapies.
“The diagnostic test decision for lung cancer will depend on several factors,” continued Dr. Mabanta. “If lung cancer has already been diagnosed, more tests will be needed to determine the stage of your cancer and develop an appropriate treatment plan.”
About North Texas Cancer Center at Wise
North Texas Cancer Center at Wise, a division of Choice Cancer Care, is now operating as the Cancer Center at Wise Regional and is one of the most renowned cancer treatment centers in Texas. The center unites some of the best cancer doctors and surgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists. Our expert team delivers superior cancer treatment in Texas, with the best results available.
North Texas Cancer Center at Wise County
2010 S. Ben Merritt Drive, Ste A
Decatur, TX 76234