Tests after diagnosis – staging lung cancer
Grading describes the cancer cells – what they look like and how they might grow, this is examined on your biopsy
Staging describes where the cancer is in your body
You may have more tests after your diagnosis to find out:
- How large is the cancer?
- Where exactly is the cancer?
- Has the cancer spread to any other parts of your body?
- What grade is the cancer?
This is called staging. Some of these tests may also be done when diagnosing and to check your response to treatment. Staging tests for lung cancer include:
A type of bronchoscopy that uses an ultrasound probe to look at the lungs and surrounding lymph nodes. Biopsy samples from the lung or lymph nodes can be taken by passing a needle through the tube. This is called a transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA).
Similar to an EBUS, but the probe goes down your oesophagus (gullet) to give images of the area around the heart and lungs, to show if any of the lymph nodes in the centre of the chest are enlarged.
A flexible tube with a light and camera put into your chest through a cut between your ribs. It can see if the membranes that line the lungs (pleura) look normal.
Lung function tests
Pulmonary function tests (PFTs): Blowing into a mouthpiece on a machine to see how well your lungs work.
Cardiopulmonary exercise stress test or CPET: Breathing through a mouthpiece while exercising - usually riding an exercise bike.
These tests can help your doctor to decide whether to remove the tumour by surgery or give you radiotherapy later.
Staging tests are important as they help your medical team decide on the best treatment for your cancer.
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