A dry cough can be a symptom of many diseases, including cancer, however it does not mean you have cancer. A cough that does not resolve should undergo evaluation by your physician.
Most patients will first undergo an evaluation for allergic and sinus disease. If this evaluation does not reveal a source of the cough, then a chest x-ray (CXR) should be performed.
If an abnormality is identified in the CXR, the patient should see either a Thoracic surgeon or a pulmonologist for a chest CAT scan and possibly a biopsy.
A biopsy can be guided by CAT scan or bronchoscopy.
For a CAT scan guided biopsy, the patient is given local anesthetic and a physician inserts a needle through the chest into the mass.
With a bronchoscope, the physician can see inside the trachea, search for masses, and take tissue samples (biopsies).
If no diagnosis is obtained with either CAT scan or bronchoscopy guided biopsy techniques, then the patient may need to go to surgery for removal of the mass.
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