Cancer Information

Diagnosis of Lung Cancer

  Medical history, smoking history, exposure to environmental and occupational substances, and family history of cancer.

  • Chest x-ray

  • Sputum cytology (the microscopic examination of cells obtained from a deep-cough sample of mucus in the lungs)

  •  A biopsy or needle aspiration - Removal of a small piece of disease tissue for microscopic examination can be done to confirm the diagnosis

  • Other tests like CT scan, MRI and bronchoscopy, Radionuclide scanning Bone scan and mediastinoscopy may be used to determine the extent of disease.


Surgery- Type of surgery to remove the cancer depends on the location and extent of the cancer in the lung. Surgery is of limited value and only a small minority of limited stage patients with adequate pulmonary function and with tumor pathologically confined to the lung of origin, or the lung and ipsilateral hilar lymph nodes, may possibly benefit from surgical resection with or without adjuvant chemotherapy

Chemotherapy - is the use of anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. In patients with limited stage small cell lung cancer, combination chemotherapy produces results that are clearly superior to single-agent treatment. Combinations containing 2 or more drugs are needed for maximal effect. A common combination is to use etoposide and cisplatin together. 

Radiation therapy - involves the use of high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. A minimal tumor doses in the range of 4,000 to 4,500 cGy or more are usually needed to effectively control tumors in the thorax.

A combination of Radiation therapy and Chemotherapy has been found to be more beneficial in some trials but whether these therapies are used alone or in combination depends on the severity of the disease and also varies from center to center.