Further tests for lung cancer
If these tests show that you have lung cancer, you will have further tests to see whether the cancer has spread to other parts of your body.
This scan combines a PET (positron emission tomography) scan with a CT scan in one machine. It can provide detailed information about the cancer.
A small amount of radioactive glucose solution is injected into a vein, usually in your arm. You will be asked to sit quietly for 30–90 minutes while the glucose solution travels around your body, then you will lie on a table that moves through the scanning machine very slowly. Cancer cells take up more of the glucose solution than normal cells do, so they show up more brightly on the scan.
Sometimes a PET–CT scan is done to work out if a biopsy is needed or to help guide the biopsy procedure.
You may also have a CT or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan of the brain. If a PET–CT scan is not available or results are unclear, you may have a CT scan of the abdomen or a bone scan. For more details, talk to your doctor or call Cancer Council 13 11 20.
A/Prof Nick Pavlakis, President, Australasian Lung Cancer Trials Group, President, Clinical Oncology Society of Australia, and Senior Staff Specialist, Department of Medical Oncology, Royal North Shore Hospital, NSW; Dr Naveed Alam, Thoracic Surgeon, St Vincent’s Private Hospital Melbourne, VIC; Prof Kwun Fong, Thoracic and Sleep Physician and Director, UQ Thoracic Research Centre, The Prince Charles Hospital, and Professor of Medicine, The University of Queensland, QLD; Renae Grundy, Clinical Nurse Consultant – Lung, Royal Hobart Hospital, TAS; A/Prof Brian Le, Director, Palliative Care, Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre – Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and The Royal Melbourne Hospital, and The University Of Melbourne, VIC; A/Prof Margot Lehman, Senior Radiation Oncologist and Director, Radiation Oncology, Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD; Susana Lloyd, Consumer; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Nicole Parkinson, Lung Cancer Support Nurse, Lung Foundation Australia.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
Click below to download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum
Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment