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What tests are conducted to detect lung cancer?

It does not take a doctor to know that diseases can vary in severity. It also does not take a medical professional to know that for many diseases, early diagnosis is key to effective and successful treatment. It does, however, take a medical professional to spot signs of a disease, order and conduct the proper tests, accurately read and analyze those tests and make a final and correct diagnosis. Far too often, though, doctors fail to properly perform their duties and the results can be deadly.

One disease that requires close medical attention and early diagnosis is lung cancer. When detected in its early stages, this disease can, oftentimes, be successfully treated, meaning that the cancer can be beat into remission or the progression can be significantly slowed. However, this requires that medical professionals conduct the right tests and accurately read them. So what tests can be performed to accurately diagnose lung cancer?

There are several. X-rays may reveal a mass in the lungs and a CT scan might show lesions that are not detected by an X-ray. A doctor may also perform a sputum cytology. This test looks at cells found in sputum to determine if any of them are cancerous. A biopsy may also be performed, where a sample of the troublesome cells is removed from the lung and analyzed.

Though performing these tests and reading the results may sound easy enough, far too often medical professionals make mistakes and either misdiagnose or fail to diagnose cancer. When this happens, a patient's condition may worsen and he or she may be subjected to a reduced likelihood of survival. If this is the case, then legal action may be proper to hold those negligent individuals and the hospital at which they work accountable for the harm they have caused.

Source: The Mayo Clinic, "Lung Cancer" accessed on Dec. 11, 2015

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