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Lung Cancer

Diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer

If your doctor suspects that you may have lung cancer, there are several diagnostic tools available:

  • Imaging using an X-ray or CT scan to identify any potential lumps, masses, or lesions
  • Sputum analysis to examine any fluid you may be coughing up
  • Tissue biopsy of the lining of your lungs. Biopsies may be done with a bronchoscopy or a lighted tube inserted in your throat, with a needle inserted into your chest, or with a surgical technique called a mediastinoscopy, where an incision is made at the base of your neck.

Based on these results plus any additional symptoms, your doctor may also perform biopsies on other areas of your body or suggest further testing.


If you have a family history of lung cancer or a history of exposure to carcinogens such as heavy radiation, your doctor may suggest regular preventive screenings for lung cancer to identify any cancerous cells as quickly as possible. Because lung cancer is often missed, it may be worthwhile to speak with your doctor about this.


Treatment depends upon the type and stage of your lung cancer. Standard treatment options include:

  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted cancer therapy
  • Surgery

You may want to consider enrolling in a clinical trial for access to experimental treatments. With current therapies, it may be hard to cure lung cancer. Instead, treatment may aim to control cancer and ease pain and other symptoms.


Dignity Health provides compassionate lung cancer treatment as part of our oncology services.