There are two ways in order to know if you have lung cancer. One is through the identification of the different early signs and symptoms and through diagnostic examination. Lung cancer is a killer disease that is prevalent all over the world and chooses no status or gender.
Therefore it is of utmost importance that you determine the signs and symptoms of the disease so that further evaluation can be ordered.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms that are experienced by a lung cancer patient are:
• Chest pain which is constant and is evident during coughing or breathing
• Dyspnea or difficulty in breathing which may be due to nagging cough and constriction of the bronchioles
• Wheezing most likely heard upon exhalation
• Cough out of bloody sputum or hemoptysis
• Swelling of the face and neck which can be caused by a tumor which presses on the large blood vessels just near the lung
• Muscle weakness which may be caused by a pressing tumor on the different muscle sites
• Fever which has an unknown cause
Once these signs and symptoms are now present, the person may then experience weight loss, fatigue, headache, fracture to the bones, distant pains, anorexia, confusion which can further lead to coma.
Though definite, none of these symptoms are positive signs of having lung cancer unless a doctor has made diagnostic findings on it. That is why, it is of top priority that when a person experiences two or more of the above mentioned signs and symptoms, one must seek the advice of a doctor.
In diagnosis, the doctor explores the different areas of possibility that the patient may or may not have lung cancer. Some of the diagnostic procedures which can determine the possibility of the disease are:
1. Chest x-ray – this is usually the first test that is ordered by the physician. Chest x-ray has the capacity to detect tumors of the lung and to what extent it has reached, although this test may miss out on the smaller ones and can only detect the more visual ones.
2. CT scan – known as computed tomography, CT scans has the capacity to show the different characteristics and patterns of a lung cancer cells which can help doctors come up with a possible diagnosis. CT scans also have the capability to show the tiniest tumors which are not shown on x-rays. These small tumors may reveal if the cancer cell has already reached the nearby lymph nodes and if it has grown.
3. Bronchoscopy – using a scope to view the inside of the lungs. The microscopic examination of tissues inside the lungs is enough to confirm the possible existence of cancer cells inside the lungs. Here the doctor would do an invasive procedure which will help him view the inside of the lungs for further visualization of the tumor and at the same time take samples of the specimen.
4. Needle biopsy – this is done when the sample is too far away for the bronchoscope to reach. Specimen is obtained through insertion of a needle inside the chest skin and uses a CT to serve as a guide in maneuvering the needle to the affected part.
Together with the signs and symptoms and diagnostic procedures interpreted by the doctor, you will now know if you have lung cancer or not.