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Home > Lung Diseases > Lung Cancer > Diagnosing

Diagnosing Lung Cancer


Tests that will assist your doctor in making an accurate diagnosis of lung cancer are:

  • Chest X-ray
  • Computed Tomography (CT Scan)
  • Bronchoscopy: a small scope is passed into the lungs, via the mouth or nose, for direct observation of tumor and to obtain a biopsy.
  • Pulmonary function testing
  • Needle aspiration: A needle is inserted through the chest into the tumor to remove a sample of tissue.
  • Thoracentesis: using a needle, the doctor removes a sample of the fluid that surrounds the lungs to check for cancer cells.
  • Thoracotomy: a surgery to open the chest is sometimes needed to diagnose lung cancer. This procedure is major surgery.
  • Positron-Emission Tomography (PET scan): this test is helpful in detecting lung cancer and identifying the spread of cancer to other organs.


© 2018 American Association for Respiratory Care