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Curr Opin Pulm Med. 1997 Jul;3(4):247-51.

Diagnostic tests for lung cancer.

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  • 1Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


Bronchogenic carcinoma is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States. There has been little impact on the overall mortality from lung cancer in the past 20 years. Diagnostic tests such as routine chest x-ray and sputum cytology have proven to be ineffective in altering this mortality. The identification of risk factors, including obstructive lung disease and familial tendencies to develop lung cancer, may allow for specific strategies that will impact this mortality. Additionally, biological markers are being identified in sputum specimens that may allow identification of premalignant changes prior to morphologic changes seen in sputum cytology. Radiologic testing such as CT scans with contrast enhancement and positive emission tomography may also aid in the early detection of peripheral lung nodules. It is through the development of these new technologies that we have an opportunity to alter overall lung cancer mortality. Here we review several articles reporting exciting new diagnostic technology.

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