Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer information from Cancer Treatment Today

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer related deaths in men and women.

It is related to smoking. Although smoking rates have been declining since the Surgeon General’s report of 1964, the effect on lung cancer is delayed by several decades. This means that it is still the deadliest cancer, and yet, the amount of research funding, support and public advocacy that goes into lung cancer is dwarfed by what breast or prostate cancer receive. Some speculate that as a cancer predominantly of smokers, a group that our society stigmatizes and disregards, lung cancer is unpopular and ignored.

Still, lung cancer treatment has significantly changed from a time just a decade ago, when treatments were few and disfiguring and metastatic lung cancer was viewed as a certain death sentence. Screening and prophylaxis trials taught us a great deal about how to prevent this disease and how to diagnose it in earlier stages, in which treatment has a higher chance of cure and prolongation of life. Smoking cessation has become a priority in public discourse, reducing new lung cancer rates (unfortunately, it takes decades to see the full benefit of stopping smoking). Understanding how to sequence chemotherapy, surgery and radiation increased cure rates in stages II and III, and the introduction of new drugs, such as Alimta, Avastin, Tarceva and most recently Xalkori, has brought oncologists to the point where even metastatic lung cancer may soon become a chronic disease. The revolution in cancer care has not bypassed this field, and survival rates have more than doubled in the past decade. Personalized medicine and the ongoing growth of biological therapies carry a promise, nay, a certainty that lung cancer too, like other previously deadly cancer types, can become a treatable and curable illness even in later stages.

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