Lung Cancer Diagnosis and Staging

Diagnosing lung cancer for the most effective treatment

A serious mature woman represents the importance of learning more about a lung cancer diagnosis.

Diagnosing lung cancer for the most effective treatment

If you have a positive lung cancer screening or symptoms of the disease, your doctor may recommend testing. Lung cancer diagnostic testing enables Scripps MD Anderson cancer specialists to determine the type and stage of lung cancer, and develop a personalized treatment plan for each patient.

How is lung cancer detected and diagnosed?

Scripps specialists use a combination of tests to confirm a lung cancer diagnosis, including imaging tests and a biopsy. Depending on the diagnosis, your physician may refer you to a Scripps oncologist, who will work with your team to plan your treatment and next steps.

Imaging and diagnostic testing

Scripps pulmonologists work with interventional pulmonologists, interventional radiologists, pathologists and other professionals to detect and diagnose lung cancer using advanced imaging technology.

Lung cancer stages

Diagnostic imaging and testing helps establish the stages of lung cancer, which describe how far cancer may have spread beyond the lungs. Staging helps determine lung cancer prognosis and treatment.


  • Non-small cell lung cancer and lung carcinoid tumors use the same lung cancer staging system
  • Small cell lung cancer uses a simplified system

Lung cancer patient resources

Scripps MD Anderson offers resources to guide and support our lung cancer patients from diagnosis through treatment. In addition to your medical care, we’re here to help with your personal and practical needs through education, lung cancer support groups, integrative programs — such as yoga for cancer patients and mind-body healing therapies — referrals to community resources, and more. Find the support you need in our cancer patient resources.