Overview & Description
A sputum cytology test can identify cancer cells in a sample of sputum.
Who is a candidate for the test?
This test is done when a doctor suspects that a person may have lung cancer.
How is the test performed?
This test is usually performed in the morning, right after waking up. The person is asked to rinse his or her mouth with water to avoid a poor sample. After taking several deep breaths, the person then coughs deeply. This should bring up enough of a material from deep in the lungs known as sputum. Sputum is different from spit. The sputum sample is then taken to a lab. The lab can then examine the sample with a microscope.
Preparation & Expectations
What is involved in preparation for the test?
Instructions on sample collection are provided to people having this test. No other special preparation is needed.
Results and Values
What do the test results mean?
Usually, sputum contains some normal cells. No cells that look like cancer should be in the sample. If cancer cells are seen, the person usually has lung cancer.
Article type: xmedgeneral