Lung cancer is a type of cancer that originates in cells that form in an individual's lung tissues. Lung cancer leads the United States in most cancer precipitated fatalities, claiming more lives than prostate, ovarian, colon, and breast cancers combined. The most prevalent causes of lung cancer are cigarette smoking and prolonged secondhand smoke exposure. Individuals who do not smoke can also get lung cancer, but causes of such cases are unclear. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, headache, bone pain, hoarseness, coughing blood, and a persistent cough.
Patients have a variety of lung cancer treatment options. They may undergo immunotherapy for lung cancer or even have a regimen for lung cancer medication. Radiation treatment for lung cancer may also be an option. Ultimately, patients must discuss the best lung cancer treatments with their doctor. Of course, it helps to have a basic understanding of these options, and the diagnostic tests, first.
Doctors may choose to order a sputum cytology if they suspect that a patient has lung cancer. Typically, this test is ordered when patients display symptoms such as shortness of breath, lung pain, and a persistent cough. This test involves coughing up some sputum. SPutum, which is also called phlegm, is the fluid that lower respiratory tract cells secrete. Once doctors have the sample, it will often be sent to the lab for analysis. This is where a technician will examine the patient’s sputum sample under a microscope and look for any cancerous cells. Unfortunately, this test is often not sufficient as the only diagnostic test for lung cancer.
Continue reading to learn about more tests used to diagnose lung cancer now.