Lung Cancer Information & Diagnosis

lung cancer infographic

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. In women it is second only to breast cancer in commonality and in men it is second to prostate cancer. In the United States, approximately 226,160 new cases were diagnosed in 2012.

What Is Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is a term used to describe a growth of abnormal cells inside the lung. The cancerous cells stick together forming a cluster known as a tumor. There are two types of tumors: benign and malignant.

Benign tumors are not cancer. The cells do not spread to other parts of the body and the tumor often can be removed. These tumors are rarely life-threatening.

Malignant tumors are cancer. These cells divide and grow out of control and do not carry out the function of the organ they are inhabiting.

Visit the American Cancer Society to learn more about the types of lung cancer.

Diagnosis

Frequently lung cancer is first discovered on a chest x-ray. Sometimes it is found incidentally on a routine chest X-ray, or an X-ray taken before an upcoming surgery. Other times the person may have respiratory symptoms such as nagging cough, coughing bloody sputum, difficulty breathing, wheezing or hoarseness. Other symptoms may include chest pain or pressure, swelling of the neck and face, loss of appetite, weight loss, or fatigue.

Regardless of how the tumor is initially discovered, the diagnosis of lung cancer is ultimately based on a biopsy that is examined by a pathologist under a microscope.

Diagnostic imaging is the cornerstone of diagnosis, staging and follow-up of patients with lung cancer and other malignancies of the chest.

Screening and diagnostic service options at Huntington Hospital include:

  • Positron emission tomography (PET/CT Scan)
  • CT scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Bone scan
  • CT guided fine needle biopsy
  • Bronchoscopy
  • SuperDimension - Computer-assisted Navigational Assisted Bronchoscopy. Learn more about SuperDimension.

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