Sunday, July 24, 2011

What My Cancer Doc Did Not Do

Establishing Diagnosis

When the diagnosis is suspected, patients must be examined carefully by a qualified physician. A chest x-ray along with studying a sample of sputum are the very first steps in establishing a diagnosis. If the study sputum does not confirm the diagnosis, then Bronchoscopy and biopsy are the next steps. In certain patients, cancer may have already spread to lymph glands in the neck. In such cases, a Fine needle aspiration of the lymph gland should be performed. This is a fairly easy procedure. Unfortunately, most doctors avoid the simple test of sputum study. There is no reason not to perform this test, since it establishes the diagnosis in about 30% of patients. In a small percentage of patients, none of the above tests will lead into a diagnosis and there will be a need to proceed with more invasive procedures, and perhaps surgery.

Although I was told that my lung cancer had spread through my lymphnodes, I was never given a Fine Needle Aspiration of my lymph glands.

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