Clinical presentation and diagnosis

Clinical symptoms are not commonly seen until lung cancer tumors become large and/ or have metastasized. This is a key factor in the poor prognosis associated with lung cancer. Patients who are diagnosed at an earlier clinical stage have improved prognosis compared to those diagnosed at later stages. Therefore, diagnosing lung cancer earlier through screening and identification of initial signs and symptoms is important. Several screening techniques including CT and PET scanning are being investigated to detect lung cancer at earlier, curable stages in an attempt to reduce mortality. However, screening is not part of the current recommendations. The current approach is based on identifying lung cancer patients on symptomatic presentation or by follow-up of lesions noted from unrelated radiologic scans.

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