Diagnosis of lung cancer ~ Health Guide

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Diagnosis of lung cancer

Written by Mystic on Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Early lung cancers are diagnosed incidentally, ie they are found by chance as a result of tests for other unrelated medical conditions. Currently there is no population screening for lung cancer.

Investigations are carried out to confirm the presence of lung cancer in patients who complain of one or more of the above symptoms. The following techniques may be used:

* Chest x-ray
A chest x-ray is done to look for any mass or spot on the lungs. It can identify tumours as small as 1cm in diameter.

* CT scan
Computed tomography or a CT scan will provide more precise information about the size, position and shape of the cancer and any enlarged lymph nodes. A CT scan is more sensitive than a chest xray in picking up early lung cancers.

* Sputum cytology
A sample of phlegm is examined under the microscope to see if cancer cells are present.

* Bronchoscopy
A lighted tube called a fibreoptic bronchoscope is inserted through the nose or mouth into the bronchi to help locate tumours and to enable a biopsy, or tissue sample to be taken.


* Surgery
Surgery is the treatment of choice and can be used to remove the cancer in its entirety as well as some of the surrounding lung tissue if the tumour is small enough. A lobectomy is the removal of a lobe, or section of the lung. A pneumonectomy involves the removal of the whole lung.

* Radiotherapy
Radiotherapy is the use of xray beams to kill cancer cells. It may be used to control some cancers. Even when lung cancer cannot be cured radiotherapy can control the rate of the cancer growth and alleviate symptoms.

* Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is most useful for people with small cell cancer of the lung. It may be used with surgery and/or radiotherapy to treat patients with other types of lung cancer.

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