Symptoms of lung cancer often include:
- Coughing /wheezing
- Bloody sputum
- Chest pain/ pain when breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty swallowing
- Swelling of neck, face and upper extremities
- Weakness and pain in the shoulder, arm and hand
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Behavioral changes
- Speech problems
- Memory lapses
- Pain in other body parts
- Bone fractures
- Blood clots
To diagnose lung cancer, a physician looks for enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver and abdomen, and for other symptoms of a lung mass. A complete diagnosis requires a chest x-ray to look for growths, an asputum test, involving coughing up phlegm, for lung cancer cell detection, and a spirometry, which tests a patient’s pulmonary function to determine if there is an obstruction or narrowing of the airways. A diagnosis of lung cancer may include a biopsy, of which there are two kinds, bronchoscopy and percutaneous needle biopsy, for tissue examination. Bronchoscopy involves insertion of a bronchoscope, a flexible lighted tube, into the patient’s mouth or nose and guiding it to the bronchi. A percutaneous needle biopsy involves inserting a needle into the lung through the skin. After a lung cancer diagnosis is made, a doctor will determine the stage of the cancer in order to establish the proper course of treatment. Staging the cancer usually involves use of computerized tomography, bone scans and pulmonary angiography. Unfortunately, standard lung cancer treatments available, including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, have limited success rates, and thus patients are often encouraged to participate in clinical trials which may provide them with better chances of survival.
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Michael Gunzburg is a New York Lung Cancer Misdiagnosis Attorney serving the New York Metropolitan area, includingNew York City, Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland and Orange County.