Imaging lung cancer.
Imaging plays an essential role in diagnosing, staging, and following patients with lung cancer. Most tumors are found on chest radiographs, although further evaluation with thoracic computed tomography is performed to stage local disease. Additional radiologic studies, including radionuclide bone scan, brain computed tomography, or magnetic resonance imaging are typically used in select patients in the search for extrathoracic metastases. More recently, whole body positron emission tomography imaging has become an extremely useful tool in evaluating the primary tumor, regional lymph nodes, and distant sites of disease in lung cancer patients. With continued improvements in diagnostic imaging modalities, definition of risk groups, discovery of molecular markers, and development of new therapeutic strategies, improved survival rates should result in the future. This review focuses on the current imaging techniques used to evaluate patients with lung cancer.
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