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Lung cancer diagnosis

If your healthcare provider believes you may have lung cancer, you will need certain exams and tests to be sure.

You should expect to be asked questions about your health history, your symptoms, risk factors, and family history of disease. Understanding your background will help your provider make a diagnosis.

You may have one of the following tests:

  • Imaging Test. An X-ray image or CT scan of your lungs may reveal any abnormalities that your healthcare providers are searching for.
  • Biopsy Tissue Sample. A biopsy removes tissue or cells to be checked by a pathologist under a microscope. Results from a biopsy help determine if abnormal cells are cancer. Your doctor may perform this procedure in a variety of ways including bronchoscopy, mediastinoscopy, and needle biopsy. Ask your provider about your specific type of biopsy to learn more.

Getting your test results

Patients will be called within five days after biopsy by a nurse navigator. Further management will be recommended at that time.

Who is qualified for lung cancer screening?

Lung cancer screening is recommended for patients who are at high risk for lung cancer. Low-dose CT screenings are recommended for patients who:

  • Are between the ages 55-80.
  • Currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.
  • Have a 30 pack-year smoking history, meaning the patient smokes one pack of cigarettes per day for 30 years, or two packs per day for 15 years.