Lung Cancer Symptoms & Diagnosis

Most commonly, doctors suspect somebody might have lung cancer when they see something on an imaging test such as a CT scan that looks like it could be a tumor. Lung cancer doesn't always cause symptoms in the early stages. Sometimes patients don't have any symptoms at all. Diagnosing lung cancer is a process that involves not just detecting lung cancer but understanding how much it has spread and testing for biomarkers—information that can help determine your best treatment plan.

Lung Cancer Symptoms

Often lung cancer symptoms are dismissed as other issues like allergies or bronchitis. If you feel shortness of breath, have a cough that won’t go away, cough up blood, or experience weight loss and fatigue, talk to your doctor.

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Lung Cancer Screening

Lung cancer screening can help find cancer before a person has symptoms. Early detection is important because lung cancer is easier to treat in its early stages before it has spread.

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How Is Lung Cancer Diagnosed

Learn about the different tests and procedures that can help your doctor diagnose lung cancer.

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Lung Cancer Staging

Staging means finding out if and how much the lung cancer has spread and helps shape your recommended treatment plan. Staging. This is important because your treatment plan and the general outlook for your recovery depend upon the stage of your lung cancer.

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Lung Cancer Biomarker Testing

Ask your doctor if your lung cancer tumor should be tested for certain DNA changes. These tests—sometimes referred to as molecular, biomarker or genomic testing—look for changes (mutations) in the tumor's DNA and evaluate levels of specific proteins present in the tumor. When doctors have this information, they may suggest treatment that targets the mutation in the cells.

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Page last updated: August 23, 2021

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