As with many other cancers, a key to surviving lung cancer is catching it in its earliest stages, when it is most treatable. This is why smokers, as well as former smokers, should have their lungs screened annually— especially since the symptoms of lung cancer don’t usually appear until the disease is already at an advanced stage. We at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers (RMCC) recommend that you read more about the American Cancer Society’s guidelines regarding lung cancer screening to see if you meet the criteria (and set up an appointment with your primary care doctor if you do).
Many tests are used to detect, diagnose, and even stage lung cancer. Tests are also used to learn if cancer has spread (metastasized) to another part of the body from where it started.
For most types of cancer, a biopsy is the only sure way for your doctor to know if an area of the body has cancer. In a biopsy, your doctor takes a small sample of tissue for testing in a laboratory. If a biopsy is not possible, he or she may suggest other tests that will help make a diagnosis.
Your doctor may consider these factors when choosing a diagnostic test:
In addition to a physical examination and discussion about your family health history, the following tests may be used to diagnose and stage both small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC):
At Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers, we understand that a diagnosis of lung cancer can be overwhelming. This is why our friendly and compassionate specialists are dedicated to delivering personalized care in a supportive environment. Together, we will fight lung cancer.