Read about common tests (investigations) used to find out if your symptoms may be lung cancer.

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  • If there is concern that your symptoms may be lung cancer, further tests (investigations) will be done.
  • The purpose of these tests is to find out whether you have lung cancer, the type of lung cancer you have and if the cancer has spread to other parts of your body.
  • The results of any tests you have will help your treatment team advise what the best treatment options are for you.
  • Common tests include:
    • chest x-ray
    • lung function test
    • sputum cytology
    • biopsy
    • testing for gene changes
    • imaging tests (scans)

  • Mehemea he āwangawanga ōu tērā pea kua puta he matepukupuku pūkahukahu nā ō tohumate, ka whakahaerehia anō he whakamātautau atu.
  • Ko te whāinga o ēnei whakamātautau ko te kimi mehemea kua whai koe i te matepukupuku pūkahukahu, te momo matepukupuku kua puta kia koe, me te tiro mehemea kua rauroha ki wāhi kē o tō tinana.
  • Ka āwhina ngā whakamātautau ka whai koe, i tō rōpū maimoa ki te
    whakatau ko tēhea te kōwhiringa maimoa pai rawa mōu.
  • Ka whai ko ēnei whakamātautau:
    •  Whakaata roto uma
    • Whakamātautau mahinga pūkahukahu
    • Hūare cytology
    • Unuhanga kikokiko
    • Whakamātautau panoni ki ngā ira
    • Whakamātautau ataata
Diagnosing lung cancer

Diagnosing lung cancer

If you have noticed any of the symptoms of lung cancer, see your GP or whānau doctor first.

They will talk to you about your symptoms and examine your chest, and discuss any risk factors for lung cancer you may have.

If your GP or whānau doctor is concerned that your symptoms may be due to lung cancer, they will recommend further tests (investigations), to find out:

  • Whether you have lung cancer;
  • The type of lung cancer you have; and
  • If the cancer has spread to other parts of your body.

The results of any tests you have will help your treatment team to decide what the best treatment options are for you.

Common tests (investigations) for lung cancer

You may have some, or all, of the following tests: 

  • Chest x-ray, to show cancers one cm wide or larger
  • Lung function test, to see how well your lungs are working
  • Sputum cytology, to test your spit for cancer cells

You may also have a biopsy, where tissue from your lung or lymph nodes is taken to check for cancer cells, which can also show the type of cancer you have. There are different ways to take a biopsy, and your doctor will explain which one is right for you. 

Lab doctors can also check for changes in cancer cells, specifically, a change in a gene or protein that helps the cancer to grow.

Imaging tests

There are different imaging tests used to build a detailed picture of the body.

These look for the size, location and possible spread of any cancer, and include:

  • CT
  • MRI 
  • PET-CT

Further tests

Your treatment team may recommend other tests.

These include:

  • general blood tests
  • scans of other body organs such as bones, liver, brain and kidneys
Last updated: June 20, 2022