How is Lung Cancer Diagnosed?

Getting an accurate and precise diagnosis of your cancer type is essential to planning and choosing the best treatment options for you.

If you have a chest x-ray or other type of scan that suggests you may have lung cancer, your next step toward getting a definitive diagnosis may involve one or more of the following:

Dr. Ivanick explains how robotic navigational bronchoscopy provides a road map to accessing lung nodules.
  • PET scan
  • CT biopsy
  • Pulmonary function test (PFT) measures how much air the lungs can hold and how quickly air is moved into and out of the lungs. This test will also measure how much oxygen is used and how much carbon dioxide is given off while breathing.
  • Thoracentesis takes of a sample of fluid from the space between the lung and the chest lining for analysis.
  • Bronchoscopy uses a flexible telescopic instrument to examine your major airways. Bronchoscopy is an outpatient procedure, uses a light general anesthetic and has minimal risk. In addition to visualizing your airways, the physician can also perform a diagnostic biopsy at the same time. Navigational bronchoscopy incorporates CT scanning to create a 3D model and roadmap to navigate the bronchoscope further in the lungs.
  • Robotic bronchoscopy is the latest innovation, integrating all the other tools, robotics, navigational software and real-time 3D imaging, with bronchoscopy. Robotic bronchoscopy can safely biopsy very small, and more difficult-to-reach nodules than possible with other approaches. Robotic bronchoscopy allows for earliest diagnosis of suspicious lung nodules that were previously inaccessible without surgery.
  • Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) is a minimally invasive way to examine, assess and biopsy lymph nodes or other masses outside the bronchial tubes — without an incision. EBUS uses ultrasound imaging from inside the trachea to guide needle insertion to the lymph node or mass for biopsy. Patients usually go home the same day. Roswell Park is the only Western New York center equipped for EBUS.
  • Radial ultrasound can be employed to allow biopsy of lesions just outside the airway walls.
  • Video Mediastinoscopy is a minimally invasive outpatient surgical technique to biopsy abnormal lymph nodes in the central chest area or mediastinum.
  • Video-Assisted Thorocoscopic Surgery (VATS) for definitive minimally invasive tumor and lymph node biopsies, and surgical staging
  • Other tests may be necessary, such as pleuroscopy, cardiopulmonary stress test, quantitative nuclear lung scan, brain MRI scan or a guided biopsy of a newly-found areas of concern.
The Roswell Park Advantage — Robotic Bronchoscopy for Early Diagnosis of Lung Cancer

A new technology — Monarch Robotic Bronchoscopy — is a game-changer for getting accurate biopsies of very small nodules deep in the lungs. As lung cancer screening increases, the lung nodules and lesions detected are smaller and harder to reach for biopsy, making very early stage diagnosis difficult. Physicians typically had to determine whether to monitor these remote nodules, watching for growth or other malignant characteristics, and risk possible metastasis, or to perform surgery, which carries risk for collapsed lung and other complications.

This latest advancement allows physicians to evaluate and biopsy potential early cancers without surgery or other invasive procedures so you can get the answers you need today. Roswell Park is the first — and only — center in New York State to have Monarch robotic bronchoscopy capability.

The Endoscopy Center

Roswell Park’s Endoscopy Center brings together Advanced Endoscopy and Interventional Pulmonology services into one state-of-the-art facility where more than 90 percent of procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. With our unique capabilities, we offer minimally invasive options in place of traditional surgery whenever possible resulting in quicker recovery, less pain and fewer side effects.

On-site pathology review ensures that tissue samples and lymph node biopsies are adequate during the procedure for accurate diagnosis.

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