Cancer, and especially lung cancer, is a condition that can be terrifying, not just for patients, but for their families and loved ones too. It is this fear that makes many people ignore the signs of the disease in the hope that their fear is wrong and the symptoms will subside on their own. This is a huge mistake. While lung cancer is a very serious medical condition, the earlier it is diagnosed, the greater the chances of recovery. If you suspect you may have lung cancer, consult an oncologist without delay.
How Lung Cancer Is Diagnosed
If there is reason to think that you may have lung cancer, there are several tests that may be used to confirm the diagnosis or to rule out the condition. Not all tests are suitable for all potential patients and an oncologist, after conducting a detailed examination and reviewing your medical history, will decide on the right diagnostic procedures for your case.
An x-ray of the lungs is often the first step in diagnosing the condition. It may reveal nodules or an abnormal mass in the lungs that are signs of lung cancer. If the x-ray results are not definitive, either in confirming or ruling out the disease, a CT scan can be used to reveal small lesions that an x-ray may not show. Ultrasound, MRI and PET scans may also be used in the diagnostic process.
If cough is present and it causes the production of sputum, then testing the sputum may reveal the presence of lung cancer cells.
If a positive diagnosis cannot be reached by other tests, then a biopsy may be ordered to remove a minute portion of the abnormal cells in the lungs for laboratory analysis. There are various methods of performing the biopsy and your doctor will decide on the right option for you.
- Bronchoscopy involves using a small tube with a light and imaging device at the end to look at the abnormal parts of the lungs. The tube is passed down the throat and into the lungs. The bronchoscope may also have a tool for the removal of a small part of the mass for laboratory examination.
- Mediastinoscopy is performed by making an incision at the base of the neck through which surgical tools are inserted to take tissue samples.
- With a needle biopsy, a doctor will use images of the lung to guide a needle through the chest and into the lungs. A small part of the suspicious tissue is sucked into the needle for laboratory examination.
The Doctor Will Decide If a Biopsy Is Required
There are different types of lung cancers and only an oncologist will be able to decide on the testing and diagnostic procedures to be followed in individual cases. The oncologist will decide if a biopsy is required or not.
If you suspect that you or someone you care for may have lung cancer, do not delay getting a diagnosis. Contact the best oncologist in Pondicherry, or wherever you may live, to find out if you have the disease or not. Remember, the sooner lung cancer is diagnosed and treatment begun, the better the possibilities of recovery.