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Lung cancer does not usually present with symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage, which means patient outcomes are often less positive than with some other forms of cancer. Research has shown that around one in three people diagnosed with lung cancer will live for one year or more, but only one in ten will live for five years or more.
People should seek medical advice if they develop any lung cancer symptoms such as coughing up blood, a persistent cough or shortness of breath. The following diagnostic steps will then be carried out.
If cancer is detected in the central part of the chest, a bronchoscopy is advised. Here an endoscopic tube called a bronchoscope is used to look at the lungs and take a biopsy sample of the tissue.
Once lung cancer is diagnosed, it is staged to help predict the potential outcomes and treatment options.
The most common form of lung cancer is non-small-cell lung cancer, which is staged as follows:
This less common form of lung cancer is either described as limited disease if it has not spread beyond the lung or extensive disease if it has spread beyond the long.