April 23, 2024
Lung Cancer Diagnostic And Screening

Lung Cancer Diagnostic And Screening Methods Some Common Symptoms Of Lung Cancer

Symptoms of Lung Cancer

Some common symptoms of lung cancer include a cough that doesn’t go away or gets worse, coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum, shortness of breath, wheezing, recurring lung infections like bronchitis and pneumonia, hoarseness, chest pain that gets worse with deep breathing, coughing or laughing, fatigue, weight loss and loss of appetite. These symptoms typically occur due to the lung cancer tumor obstructing the airways or spreading to other areas of the body. While not all lung cancer cases cause symptoms in the early stages, it’s important to get any persistent symptoms evaluated by a doctor.

Diagnostic Tests for Lung Cancer

If a person is experiencing concerning symptoms or is at high risk, their doctor may order some initial tests to evaluate for possible lung cancer. These include a physical exam where the doctor listens to the lungs and checks for enlarged lymph nodes, chest xray to look for abnormalities in the lungs, sputum cytology to examine cells from coughed up mucus under a microscope, and further imaging tests like CT scan or PET scan to get detailed pictures of the inside of the lungs and check for cancerous tumors or spread to other organs. Blood tests are also done to check liver and kidney function before additional tests or treatment.

Tissue Sampling for Diagnosis

If imaging tests show abnormal areas in the lungs, the doctor needs to get a tissue sample to check under a microscope in order make a definitive Lung Cancer Diagnostic And Screening  This involves a minimally invasive biopsy where a small tube is inserted through the mouth or through the skin in the neck or back to collect tissue samples from the suspicious areas visualized on scans. Common biopsy procedures include bronchoscopy, CT guided biopsy and thoracentesis. The cells from the biopsy are examined closely by a pathologist to determine if they are cancerous or non-cancerous and if cancer, what type it may be. This finalizes the diagnosis and helps decide on the best treatment options.

Lung Cancer Screening for Early Detection

Screening low dose CT scans of the chest are recommended for current and former heavy smokers between the ages of 50-80 who have a smoking history of at least 20 pack years and who currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. CT screening can detect early stage lung cancers before symptoms develop when treatment is most effective. Studies show CT screening can reduce lung cancer deaths by up to 20% compared to chest x-rays. Screenings involve a low dose CT scan of the chest where detailed images are obtained and carefully reviewed by a radiologist. Any suspicious lung nodules or masses detected on the scans are further investigated. Screenings should be performed annually for those who qualify based on age and smoking history. Early detection dramatically improves lung cancer survival rates compared to diagnosis at later stages.

Staging Lung Cancer

After a diagnosis of lung cancer has been established either through tissue biopsy or bronchoscopy, the doctor needs to determine how far the cancer has spread termed as the stage. Stage provides vital information to decide the most appropriate treatment. Staging involves further imaging tests like PET scan, MRI, bone scan and biopsy of suspicious areas if needed. The TNM staging system categorizes cancer on the basis of Tumor size and extent (T), spread to Nearby lymph Nodes (N) and distant Metastasis(M). Common lung cancer stages range from Stage I to Stage IV with higher stages indicating more advanced or widespread disease. Prognosis and treatment greatly depend on the stage.

Determining Lung Cancer Type

There are two main types of lung cancer – Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) and Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC). NSCLC accounts for around 80-85% of all lung cancers and includes adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and large cell carcinoma. SCLC is more aggressive and makes up 10-15% of cases. The cell type is determined through a pathology examination after biopsy or surgery. Knowing the specific histology is important as it guides the treatment options. Molecular testing of tumor cells may also be done to check for genetic mutations that can influence treatment decisions. Precision medicine approaches target specific mutations to improve outcomes.

In summary, early detection through lung cancer screening and timely evaluation of symptoms can significantly improve outcomes. A multidisciplinary approach involving low dose CT scans, biopsies, imaging and pathology helps achieve an accurate diagnosis, staging and determining the treatment approach in lung cancer.

*Note:
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it.