Diagnosing Lung Cancer

Advanced Diagnosis for Lung Cancer

At NewYork-Presbyterian, we take a personal approach to your lung cancer care. Before we create your treatment plan, we get to know you and learn about your cancer's type, stage and location. We look at your tumor's genetic make-up and other factors that will influence the choice of treatment. This information can help us determine which medicines are most likely to be effective for you.

Sensitive Lung Cancer Screening

Most lung cancers start as small growths. Screening with CT scanning is an extremely sensitive way to detect nodules as small as 2 or 3mm in the lungs — much smaller than those that can be viewed on a conventional chest X-ray. NewYork-Presbyterian offers low-dose computed tomography (CT) scanning to screen for lung cancer in individuals at risk of this disease (those with a history of smoking). People found to have nodules are connected with the NewYork-Presbyterian specialists they need for follow-up evaluation and treatment.

Advanced Diagnostic Testing

Before we can begin your treatment, we need to learn more about your tumor.

  • Advanced imaging: We have used positron emission tomography (PET) and combination PET/CT scanning in thousands of patients with lung cancer to determine whether their lung nodules are benign or malignant. Incorporating PET scanning can often guide treatment plans — from indicating whether a biopsy is necessary, to defining the shape of an area to receive radiation therapy, to pinpointing where surgery should occur.
  • Navigational bronchoscopy: We may use navigational bronchoscopy to locate, biopsy, and sometimes treat hard-to-reach lung tumors. This procedure combines electromagnetic navigational techniques with CT images, spares you from more invasive diagnostic surgical approaches, and can be done on an outpatient basis.
  • Endobronchial ultrasound: We also use endobronchial ultrasound to identify and biopsy central lymph nodes in the chest to see if they contain cancer cells.
  • DNA sequencing: If your biopsy confirms lung cancer, we'll test the biology of your cancer and see if we can match you with the anticancer drugs that target the molecules fueling its growth.