dept header
Directory | Contact
Making a Diagnosis

In order for lung cancer to be diagnosed, patients must have a sample of cells or tissue that confirms the presence of the disease.

The process of diagnosis usually occurs as follows:

  1. Discovery: Symptoms or an X-ray, such as a computerized tomograph of the chest, cause a patient to question his/her health

  2. Retrieval: Cells are retrieved for biopsy, either through a bronchoscopy (lighted scope and camera inserted in the airway) or by using a fine needle (FNB) to take cells from the tumor or mass detailed on the X-ray

  3. Staging: If confirmed, the cancer is staged. Doctors determine the extent of the lung cancer using special scans such as the Positron Emission Tomogram (PET), biopsy of the lymph nodes in the chest using a scope (mediastinoscopy(link to new technologies)/mediastinotomy) or ultrasound (endobronchial ultrasound (link to new technologies))

  4. Treatment: Once staged, treatment begins, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and novel treatments including molecular targeting agents and interventional techniques

NYU's Thoracic Oncology Program can help at any phase of the diagnosis. Our multidisciplinary approach provides a cornerstone for patients who need an opinion about how to treat their lung cancer.