Abnormality with Normal Result Condition


Chest x-ray Clear lung fields; Presence of tumors;

patent bronchi compression of vital structures

Air-filled lungs are radiolucent (x-rays pass through tissue, which appears as a dark area), but tumors or masses may appear more dense

Computed Normal organ and tomography tissues (CT) scan

Presence and size of tumor; enlarged lymph nodes; compression of pulmonary structures

Sequential x-rays combined by computer to produce a detailed cross-sectional image of lungs

Diagnostic Highlights (continued)


Normal Result

Abnormality with Condition


Cytologic sputum analysis

No cancer cells present in sputum

Presence of cancer cells in sputum

Microscopic examination of sputum sample to determine presence of cancer cells; even with large tumors cells may not be obtained in sputum


No tumors or lung blockages

Visualization of tumors or blockages

Visual examination of the lungs through the use of a flexible fiberoptic lighted tube; microscopic examination of cells taken by biopsy and bronchial brushings

Other Tests: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), thoracentesis, thoracoscopy, closed-check needle biopsy, fluoroscopy, positron emission tomography (PET), bone scan, mediastinoscopy, bone marrow biopsy, complete blood count, arterial blood


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