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Imaging of non-small cell lung cancer

Paul Stark, MD
Section Editors
James R Jett, MD
Nestor L Muller, MD, PhD
Deputy Editors
Geraldine Finlay, MD
Sadhna R Vora, MD


When a patient presents with suspected non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), multiple imaging tests are required [1]. Imaging aims to accomplish three goals:

One goal is to help determine the disease stage. This includes characterizing the primary tumor and identifying lymph nodes and other abnormalities that are suspicious for metastatic disease.

Another goal is to identify lesions that warrant tissue sampling. Sampling is necessary to confirm both the diagnosis and disease stage.

The third goal is to assist in planning surgical or radiation therapy.

The role of imaging in the staging of NSCLC is reviewed here. Choosing lesions for tissue sampling and other aspects of diagnosis and staging are discussed separately. (See "Overview of the initial evaluation, diagnosis, and staging of patients with suspected lung cancer".)


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Literature review current through: Dec 2016. | This topic last updated: Thu Nov 12 00:00:00 GMT 2015.
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