Cancers We Treat

Lung, Chest & Esophageal Cancer Diagnosis

A female healthcare professional uses a pen to point at a lung X-ray.

Doing the research

Learn More About Your Diagnosis

If you have lung, chest or esophageal cancer, it’s vitally important to get an expert evaluation and the right advice at the very beginning.

At Baptist MD Anderson, your diagnosis is tailored to you as an individual. If you have been diagnosed by a doctor outside of Baptist MD Anderson, we can provide a second opinion to confirm your diagnosis or proposed treatment plan, and help you explore the best treatment options for your situation.

Lung and chest cancer diagnostic tests may include:

  • Thoracic imaging, such as a CT scan or PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scan
  • Lung biopsy
  • Blood tests
  • Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS)
  • Edoscopic esophageal ultrasound (EUS)
  • Thoracentesis
  • Thoracoscopy or minimally invasive (video-assisted) thoracic surgery (VATS)
  • Fine needle aspiration
  • Bronchoscopy

Esophageal cancer diagnostic tests may include:

  • Endoscopy
  • PET scan
  • Esophageal biopsy
  • CT chest and abdomen
A physician listens to a patients' heart.

Lung, chest & esophageal cancer

What We Look For

We use a variety of tests to identify and diagnose lung, chest and esophageal cancer, and to determine if cancer cells have spread to other areas of the body.

Cell behavior, the presence of tumors and other abnormal growths, lung function, and other blood or tissue tests are some of the criteria we use to determine if cancer is present.

After testing, your Baptist MD Anderson physician or team member will share your test results as soon as possible and answer any questions you have.

If you are diagnosed with cancer, your doctor will thoroughly explain the treatment options for your unique situation and help you decide on the best plan for you.

In addition, a nurse navigator with specialized training in lung, chest and esophageal cancer will be with you throughout your cancer journey to answer questions, help coordinate care, provide emotional support and guide you every step of the way.

Lung, chest & esophageal cancer

Staging

Identifying the stage (or extent) of your cancer can help your doctor determine the best course of treatment for your situation. During your diagnosis, several tests are usually done to determine the specific stage of a lung, chest or esophageal cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer has five stages: stage 0 to stage 4, with various subcategories to further refine the treatment recommendations. Non-small cell lung cancer can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, or other novel or experimental therapies.

Small cell lung cancer is broken down into only two stages: limited stage and extensive stage. The two types of esophageal cancer, adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, are each broken down into five stages: stage 0 to stage IV. Once you know the stage of your cancer, you and your doctor can use this information to decide on the best treatment option for you.

How you get your diagnosis

Questions to Ask

When meeting with your Baptist MD Anderson team, you may want to ask some of the following questions before you decide on your cancer treatment. Remember, your care team is here to guide and support you every step of the way.

QUESTIONS ABOUT DIAGNOSIS

  • What type of cancer do I have?
  • What is the stage of my cancer?
  • Has it spread to other areas of my body?
  • Will I need more tests before treatment begins? Which ones?
  • How serious is my cancer?

QUESTIONS ABOUT TREATMENT

  • What are the ways to treat my type and stage of cancer?
  • What are the benefits and risks of each of these treatments?
  • What treatment do you recommend? Why do you think it is best for me?
  • When will I need to start treatment?
  • Will I need to be in the hospital for treatment? If so, for how long?
  • What is my chance of recovery with this treatment?
  • How will we know if the treatment is working?
  • Would a clinical trial be right for me?
  • How do I find out about studies for my type and stage of cancer?
Female clinical trials researcher wearing safety goggles examines petrie dish.

Getting the right diagnosis

Second Opinions

A second opinion can be a game-changer for patients. While it is rare for a diagnosis to change from malignant to benign, a second opinion may reveal other information. Our team verifies whether your staging is correct, your tumor size is correct and your overall assessment is correct. All of these factors can affect which treatment options you are offered.

Learn more

Contact Us

If you have any questions, we have you covered. We have nurse navigators available to guide you through every step of your care. Request an appointment or speak to a nurse navigator by phone or online.

An exterior photo of Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Our Location

Lung & Thoracic Cancer Clinic

Within our specialized, multidisciplinary clinics, we bring together our team of experts to care for your mind, body and spirit - all under one roof. Each of our clinics are singularly focused on your specific needs and treatment.

Need Directions? The lung and thoracic cancer clinic is located in the main Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center on Floor 6 of our cancer center.

Explore our campus

Find a Doctor

Our care team brings medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons and other specialists together for each patient.

For whatever step is next,

Baptist MD Anderson is Here for You

Our team of experts are ready to help you navigate the whirlwind of emotions, options and decisions through every aspect of your care.

a smiling Dr. Jon Vu, medical oncologist, sits next to a patient.

Early detection is critical when it comes to lung cancer. If it’s caught at stage 1, the cure rate is about 70 percent.

— JOHN VU, MD, Medical Oncologist

Are you at risk of developing lung cancer? Early detection can save your life. If you’re concerned about your lung cancer risk, please consider screening.

Get screened
a smiling Dr. Jon Vu, medical oncologist, sits next to a patient.

Early detection is critical when it comes to lung cancer. If it’s caught at stage 1, the cure rate is about 70 percent.

— JOHN VU, MD, Medical Oncologist

Are you at risk of developing lung cancer? Early detection can save your life. If you’re concerned about your lung cancer risk, please consider screening.

Get screened