Lung Cancer Diagnosis

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world.

The American Cancer Society estimates there are 236,740 new cases of lung cancer in the United States in 2022. The good news is that this number is decreasing, partly because fewer people are smoking, but also because of advances in early detection and treatment.

The Huntington Cancer Center is your partner for lung cancer diagnosis and the rest of your cancer journey.

Lung cancer is a term used to describe a growth of abnormal cells inside the lung. The cancerous cells stick together forming a cluster known as a tumor. There are two types of tumors: benign and malignant.

Benign tumors are not cancer. The cells do not spread to other parts of the body and the tumor often can be removed. These tumors are rarely life-threatening.

Malignant tumors are cancer. These cells divide and grow out of control and do not carry out the function of the organ they are inhabiting.

Visit the American Cancer Society to learn more about the types of lung cancer.

Frequently lung cancer is first discovered on a chest x-ray. Sometimes it is found incidentally on a routine chest X-ray, or an X-ray taken before an upcoming surgery. Other times the person may have respiratory symptoms such as nagging cough, coughing bloody sputum, difficulty breathing, wheezing or hoarseness. Other symptoms may include chest pain or pressure, swelling of the neck and face, loss of appetite, weight loss, or fatigue.

Diagnostic imaging is the cornerstone of diagnosis, staging and follow-up of patients with lung cancer and other malignancies of the chest. Regardless of how the tumor is initially discovered, the diagnosis of lung cancer is ultimately based on a biopsy that is examined by a pathologist under a microscope.

Screening and diagnostic service options at Huntington Hospital include:

  • Positron emission tomography (PET/CT Scan)
  • CT scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Bone scan
  • CT guided fine needle biopsy
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS)

To learn about low- or no-cost lung cancer screenings, visit

We are proud to offer superDimension, a new, minimally invasive procedure to help patients with pulmonary disease (including cancer of the lung).

Often referred to by experts as “GPS-guided bronchoscopy,” superDimension is designed to extend the reach of traditional bronchoscopy.

  • The patient’s chest CT-scan is pre-loaded onto a computer creating a virtual “roadmap” of the lungs.
  • During the procedure, a bronchoscope is placed through the patient’s mouth and into the airways of the lungs.
  • superDimension uses a GPS-like technology, Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy or “ENB”
  • The physician uses the ENB as a guide through the patient’s natural airways using a small camera and tiny instruments to collect tissue samples.
  • Specialized 3D technology overlays the CT image on the patient’s actual body position to guide and track.

Until now, physicians have relied on needle biopsy or surgery to take tissue samples – both of which can cause complications.

superDimension technology allows the physician to take tissue samples in regions of the lung that are not reachable with traditional bronchoscopy, and enables us to make early diagnoses of both benign and malignant lung lesions, enhancing treatment options and potentially avoiding the need for higher risk procedures at a later date.