Diagnosing Lung Cancer

Though lung cancer is among the most common cancers, diagnosing lung cancer at an early stage when it is most treatable remains a focus for doctors and other healthcare providers. Arriving at a lung cancer diagnosis is different for each patient, but tests are often based on factors such as your medical history, symptoms and a CT or PET scan to help determine where the tumor is located and if it has spread. In addition to a CT or PET scan, patients may also undergo additional tests for confirmation. To learn more about these tests, visit the American Lung Association.

For the appropriate candidate, low-dose lung cancer screening can be an option. The American Cancer Society recently published updated screening guidelines for heavy smokers who meet certain criteria. The new guidelines recommend that for patients ages 55 to 74 in good health and with a smoking history of a pack a day for 30 years, screening may be the best route to an early diagnosis, when lung cancer is easiest to treat.

Once diagnosed, the lung cancer is then staged to determine the best option for treatment. Illinois CyberKnife treats early stage lung cancer and metastatic lung cancer with stereotactic body radiation therapy. The outpatient treatment process is noninvasive and requires no sedation or incisions. For more information on how CyberKnife® can help, read our overview of treatment for lung cancer.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.