Lung Cancer

Published by Ken Dunn
Dunway Enterprises

Staging Disease

http://lung-cancer.dunway.com

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If the diagnosis is cancer,
the doctor will want to learn the stage (or extent) of the disease.

Staging is done to find out whether the cancer has spread and, if so, to what parts of the body. Lung cancer often spreads to the brain or bones.

Knowing the stage of the disease helps the doctor plan treatment.

Some tests used to determine whether the cancer has spread include:

  • CAT (or CT) scan (computed tomography). A computer linked to an x-ray machine creates a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body.

  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). A powerful magnet linked to a computer makes detailed pictures of areas inside the body.

  • Radionuclide scanning. Scanning can show whether cancer has spread to other organs, such as the liver. The patient swallows or receives an injection of a mildly radioactive substance. A machine (scanner) measures and records the level of radioactivity in certain organs to reveal abnormal areas.

  • Bone scan. A bone scan, one type of radionuclide scanning, can show whether cancer has spread to the bones. A small amount of radioactive substance is injected into a vein. It travels through the bloodstream and collects in areas of abnormal bone growth. An instrument called a scanner measures the radioactivity levels in these areas and records them on x-ray film.

  • Mediastinoscopy/Mediastinotomy. A mediastinoscopy can help show whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the chest. Using a lighted viewing instrument, called a scope, the doctor examines the center of the chest (mediastinum) and nearby lymph nodes. In mediastinoscopy, the scope is inserted through a small incision in the neck; in mediastinotomy, the incision is made in the chest. In either procedure, the scope is also used to remove a tissue sample. The patient receives a general aesthetic.

Explanatory Terms

CT Scan - Computed Tomography Scan.

A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body taken from different angles; the pictures are created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. Also called computerized tomography and computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan.


CT Scan
MRI - Magnetic Resonance Imaging (mag-NET-ik REZ-o-nans IM-a-jing).

A procedure in which radio waves and a powerful magnet linked to a computer are used to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body. These pictures can show the difference between normal and diseased tissue.

MRI makes better images of organs and soft tissue than other scanning techniques, such as CT or x-ray. MRI is especially useful for imaging the brain, spine, the soft tissue of joints, and the inside of bones. Also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI).


MRI

radionuclide scanning (RAY-dee-oh-NOO-klide) A test that produces pictures (scans) of internal parts of the body. The person is given an injection or swallows a small amount of radioactive material; a machine called a scanner then measures the radioactivity in certain organs.

bone scan A technique to create images of bones on a computer screen or on film. A small amount of radioactive material is injected into a blood vessel and travels through the bloodstream; it collects in the bones and is detected by a scanner.

mediastinoscopy (MEE-dee-a-stin-AHS-ko-pee) A procedure in which a tube is inserted into the chest to view the organs in the area between the lungs and nearby lymph nodes. The tube is inserted through an incision above the breastbone. This procedure is usually performed to get a tissue sample from the lymph nodes on the right side of the chest.

anterior mediastinotomy (MEE-dee-a-stin-AH-toe-mee) A procedure in which a tube is inserted into the chest to view the tissues and organs in the area between the lungs and between the breastbone and heart. The tube is inserted through an incision next to the breastbone. This procedure is usually used to get a tissue sample from the lymph nodes on the left side of the chest. Also called the Chamberlain procedure.

mediastinum (mee-dee-a-STYE-num) The area between the lungs. The organs in this area include the heart and its large blood vessels, the trachea, the esophagus, the bronchi, and lymph nodes.

anesthetic (an-es-THET-ik) A substance that causes loss of feeling or awareness. Local anesthetics cause loss of feeling in a part of the body. General anesthetics put the person to sleep.

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