We offer many tools to detect and diagnose lung cancer in smokers and in non-smokers. We discuss your anesthesia options before the procedure to ensure your comfort.
Initial tests to look for the presence of lung cancer include:
- Robotic Lung Biopsy: The new Ion™ Endoluminal System is a robotic scope that allows our doctors to grab tissue samples from deep within the lung, even around tight bends in the airways. AHN is the first in western Pennsylvania to perform lung biopsies with the Ion, which lets us detect lung cancer earlier than ever before.
- Chest X-rays: These photographs of your chest can detect tumors.
- Computed tomography (CT) scans: This type of X-ray gives your team cross-sectional images of your body to show the area in greater detail.
- Positron emission tomography (PET): We insert a small, safe amount of a radioactive substance into your veins. The substance collects in organs and tissues, helping us identify the locations of the tumors.
- Sputum cytology: We collect and analyze coughed up mucus under a microscope to detect cancerous cells.
If the initial tests show signs of lung cancer, we may use these tests to confirm a diagnosis:
- Bronchoscopy: We pass a lighted flexible camera through your mouth and into the large airways to see the lungs in detail.
- Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS): This type of bronchoscopy procedure uses ultrasound waves to identify and test lymph nodes in your respiratory tract. We may also use EBUS after diagnosis to stage the cancer, so we can tailor a treatment plan.
- Thoracoscopy: Making a small incision in your chest, we pass a camera into the cavity between the lungs and chest wall. The camera pinpoints the precise location of the tumor, so we can collect cells. This high level of precision ensures a more accurate diagnosis.
- Thoracentesis: We insert a needle between the ribs, to remove fluid surrounding the lungs. We test the fluid for cancerous cells.
- Fine or core needle biopsy: We insert a needle into an area where a tumor is present. We remove a small tissue sample and analyze it under a microscope to look for cellular changes.
- Liquid biopsy: In this precise blood test, physicians examine DNA fragments circulating in the blood to identify certain cancer mutations. This information helps us find a targeted treatment plan for you, and it can replace a more invasive tissue biopsy.