4 symptoms of lung cancer that you should be aware of
HOW IS LUNG CANCER DIAGNOSED?
symptoms of lung cancer that you should be aware of To diagnose lung cancer, it is essential to assess the symptoms for which the patient comes to the consultation and investigate whether or not he is a smoker, the type of work he performs, the family history of the disease and the personal history of other tumors; that is, know your medical history.
The second step is to carry out a physical examination of the patient, looking for signs and symptoms that may correspond to the disease.
TESTS TO DETECT LUNG CANCER
With the above information, the doctor assesses the need to complete the study with a series of tests . The most common are the following:
BLOOD AND URINE TESTS
They are the first tests that are carried out . With them we seek to know the general condition of the patient. Whether or not you have impaired kidney or liver function.
The to p arición nodules or “spots” in the lung , mediastinum changes, or pleural effusions (accumulation of fluid in the pleura) are some signs suggestive of disease.
It consists of analyzing under the microscope the type of cells that exist in the patient’s sputum.
BRONCHOSCOPY OR FIBEROPTIC BRONCHOSCOPY
It is used to examine the trachea and bronchi directly from inside the bronchi . It is done by inserting a flexible tube called a bronchoscope into the airways.
The interior of the tube contains fiber optics that allows specialists to view the entire route from a television monitor. It also has a mechanism that allows samples of suspicious lesions to be taken, to later analyze them under the microscope.
On other occasions, when the lesions are not visible, liquids are introduced through the bronchoscope to wash the area and, once aspirated, the cells they contain are analyzed under the microscope.
To perform this test, the patient must be fasting. The pulmonologist (lung specialist), before introducing the bronchoscope, must anesthetize the area of the throat, larynx, trachea and bronchi.
Bronchoscopy also provides information about where the tumor sits and the structures it affects.
FINE NEEDLE PUNCTURE
It consists of obtaining cells from the lesion by performing a thoracic puncture with a fine needle, generally under the control of a computerized tomography (CT). This technique is used when the tumor is in a peripheral area of the chest that is difficult to access by bronchoscopy.
WHAT MORE TESTS CAN BE DONE TO DIAGNOSE LUNG CANCER?
Once the lung injury has been diagnosed, the local and distant extent of the disease must be determined . To do this, the doctor will request a series of tests to complete the study:
SCANNER OR CT (COMPUTERIZED TOMOGRAPHY)
The scanner is a test in which the patient’s anatomical structures are taken from various angles.
It is a painless test , which takes 20-30 minutes , during which time it is necessary for the patient to remain motionless on the scanner table. In lung cancer, it is performed at the thoracic, abdominal and / or cranial level.
Thoracic CT: has the advantage of detecting non-visible alterations in the chest radiograph and providing information on the situation of the mediastinum (lymph node involvement), invasion of the chest wall or existence of pleural effusions.
Abdominal CT: it is performed to study the extension of the disease to organs such as the liver or adrenal glands.
Cranial CT: used to determine the existence of possible brain metastases.
It is a test used to assess the existence or not of bone metastases , that is, the involvement of the bone by tumor cells. It consists of the intravenous injection of a radioactive substance (isotope) that binds to the bone. The areas of bone that have tumor involvement capture more isotopes and are seen as darker areas.
POSITRON EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY (PET)
It is a technique capable of detecting injuries not visible by other means. It consists of introducing an isotope with glucose (a type of sugar) that is captured with greater avidity by tumor cells than by normal cells, so that tumor lesions appear as more marked areas.