Some lung cancers may be discovered through screening, however most lung cancers are diagnosed because they are causing issues. The real diagnosis of lung cancer is done by looking at a sample of lung cells in the lab. If you have suspected signs or symptoms of lung cancer, visit your doctor.
Your doctor will inquire about your medical history to learn about your symptoms and any risk factors. Your doctor will also check you to search for symptoms of lung cancer or other health concerns.
If the findings of your history and physical exam indicate you could have lung cancer, additional testing will be done. These might involve imaging studies and/or biopsies of the lung.
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Imaging tests employ x-rays, magnetic fields, sound waves, or radioactive chemicals to make photographs of the interior of your body. Imaging studies could be done for a variety of reasons both before and after a diagnosis of lung cancer, including:
- To examine at questionable regions that could be cancer
- To discover how far cancer could have spread
- To help evaluate whether therapy is working
- To search for probable indicators of cancer coming back after treatment
Computed tomography (CT) scan.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
positron emission tomography (PET)
Tests to identify lung cancer
Transthoracic needle biopsy
Endoscopic esophageal ultrasound
Mediastinoscopy and mediastinotomy
Lung function tests
Lab examinations of biopsies and other samples
Molecular assays for gene alterations
- About 20 -25 percent of NSCLCs have mutations in the KRAS gene that lead them to create an aberrant KRAS protein which promotes the cancer cells grow and spread. NSCLCs with this mutation are typically adenocarcinomas, resistant to other medicines such as EGFR inhibitors, and are more commonly identified in patients with a smoking history.
- EGFR is a protein that exists in large concentrations on the surface of 10 percent to 20 percent of NSCLC cells and helps them proliferate. Some medications that target EGFR may be used to treat NSCLC with alterations in the EGFR gene, which are more frequent in particular demographics, such as those who don't smoke, women, and Asians. But these treatments don’t appear to be as useful in people whose cancer cells contain alterations in the KRAS gene.
- About 5 percent of NSCLCs contain an alteration in the ALK gene. This shift is most typically found in those who don't smoke (or who smoke lightly) who have the adenocarcinoma subtype of NSCLC. Doctors may screen tumours for alterations in the ALK gene to determine whether medications that target this mutation may benefit patients.
- About 1 percent to 2 percent of NSCLCs contain a rearrangement in the ROS1 gene, which could help the tumor react to specific targeted medicines.
- A tiny fraction of NSCLCs have mutations in the RET gene. Certain medications that target cells with RET gene alterations could be alternatives for treating these cancers.
- About 5 percent of NSCLCs contain mutations in the BRAF gene. Certain medications that target cells with BRAF gene alterations could be a possibility for treating these cancers.
- A tiny minority of NSCLCs contain particular mutations in the MET gene that make them more likely to react to certain targeted medicines.