Diagnosis of lung cancer requires consultation with a chest specialist who will conduct a detailed clinical evaluation. A chest X-ray and CT scan of the chest will likely be required. The most definite diagnosis of lung cancer needs a small tissue to be taken of the tumor (biopsy). This is the most important step in the diagnosis of lung cancer and is important to determine the exact nature of lung cancer and look for certain mutations in the cells; all of this information is important to decide the best treatment option for the disease. This can be achieved by either doing a Bronchoscopy which is passing a small tube (which has a camera at the end) through the nose into the lungs and taking biopsy under vision or directly putting a needle into the tumor under CT or USG guidance. The biopsy specimen is examined under microscope by the histo- pathologists after staining with different chemicals. This process may take few days sometimes up to a week.
Once the diagnosis is established further tests may be required to look for spread of cancer (metastasis) like a PET scan. After evaluating this detailed treatment strategy is made. Depending on the type and spread of the disease the treatment options may include surgery, chemotherapy or Radiotherapy. It is important to sit down with your treating physician to completely understand the treatment journey which will likely have many highs and lows.