If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer, you may wish to ask your physician these four additional questions:
1. What diagnostic tests am I to go through besides the MRI that I have taken?
Doctors can run a combination of diagnostic tests to confirm the size, location, malignancy, and spread of the lung tumor. The common diagnostic tests are:
• A run through the medical history records followed by a physical examination
• A chest radiograph (chest X-ray) to reveal the spread, collapse of lung or consolidation of cancerous mass.
• CAT scans (Computerised Axial Tomography) may be performed on the chest, abdomen, and/or brain to examine for both metastatic and lung tumors. This is a high resolution imaging procedure showing organs from different angles to a certain depth.
• Spiral CAT scan to help identify small lung cancers in smokers and former smokers.
• MRI (Magnetic resonance Imaging) is a non-radiation imaging procedure used to see contrasts and minute details that help decide the aging of the cancerous tumors.
• PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scanning. It helps determine whether a tumor tissue is actively growing and determines the type of cells within a tumor.
• Some other tests can be ordered after a confirmatory diagnosis has been made for lung cancer. They are:
o Bone scan helps determine if the lung cancer has metastasized to the bone.
o Sputum cytology shows the presence or absence of the malignant cancer cells in the sputum of the patient.
o Thoracentesis helps removes the pleural fluid from the chest for further testing to detect cancer cells.
o Thoracotomy may be performed to remove lymph nodes and other tissues in question.
o Bronchoscopy is done with a thin fiber optic probe to obtain samples of the tumor for further tests such as biopsy. It is also used to visualize the tumor.
o Fine Needle Aspiration or Needle Biopsy is done in cases where the tumor is located at the peripheries of the lung and not accessible by the bronchoscope.
o Blood tests help detect biochemical and metabolic changes in the body that accompany cancer development.
o Mediastinoscopy is done to remove lymph nodes and other tissues in question.