Lung Cancer

21 April, 2022

Lung cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the world. It is defined as cancer that begins in the lungs and most often occurs in people who smoke. Cigarette smoking is one of the leading causes of lung cancer; however, 25% of lung cancer cases detected worldwide were diagnosed to be in non-smokers. The victims’ ages are usually 60 years and above. Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide compared to any other form of cancer. 

The signs usually occur when the disease itself has advanced. Some of the symptoms may include:

  • Coughing up blood (even a small amount)
  • Hoarseness
  • Bone pain
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty in breathing

If these symptoms of lung cancer persist or seem to aggravate over time, a visit to the hospital is highly advisable. Most lung cancers start in the bronchi, which are the air passageways branching off the trachea. They could also form in glands below the lining of the bronchi.

Common Lung Cancer Treatment

There are two main types of cancer: 

  • small cell lung cancer and 
  • non-small cell lung cancer. 

Each of them is unique and different treatment methods are used to treat them. There are various treatments available to treat cancer in today’s world due to the advancements in medical technology. Let us look at a few common lung cancer treatment options.

  • Surgery:

To date, surgery is one of the best treatment methods for treating the early stages of cancer. The removal of affected tissues and the tumor itself is the best way to help cure lung cancer patients. But in cases where the patient suffers from multiple health problems, surgery may not be the best option. 

The surgery techniques may vary based on the location of the tumor, the patient’s medical history, and also the surgeon’s approach. Trained thoracic surgeons may use Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS) or VATS lobectomy routinely as well as robotic surgery. 

  • Radiation Therapy:

This is a kind of focused treatment where the cancer cells are bombarded with high-energy X-ray that kills their cancer cells. It could be used as the primary treatment or even as secondary treatment along with chemotherapy. The side effects could be severe in this form of therapy, but it is still proven to be the most effective.

  • Chemotherapy:

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill the rapidly growing cancer cells. They could be introduced to the blood directly through an IV line or via a catheter, which is a thin tube placed into a large vein. A significant drawback in the use of chemotherapy is that it targets both normal cells and cancer cells. The doctors will try their best to reduce the side effects and suggest the best manageable way to prevent side effects from causing any significant damage.

Lung Cancer Treatment: Innovative Options

With the advancements in biotechnology and the introduction of new drugs, there have been many innovative ways to improve cancer treatment. Let us look at some of them in detail.

  • Immunotherapy:

Immunotherapy drugs boost the immune system to fight malignant tumors in a way similar to what antibiotics do. This lung cancer treatment uses the body’s immune response to combat cancer without harming healthy cells. New immunotherapy drugs have been created in recent years to prevent cancer cells from hiding or suppressing the immune system. 

In 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two experimental immunotherapy drugs to treat non-small cell lung cancer. Doctors have been prescribing nivolumab (Opdivo) and pembrolizumab (Keytruda) as more than just a second-line treatment for patients who have progressed with standard chemotherapy.

  • Biomarkers:

Biomarkers are genetic alterations in tumor DNA that can help doctors diagnose lung cancer sooner and make better treatment decisions. Many oncologist in india believe that diagnosing lung cancer sooner results in a better prognosis. 

Biomarkers have driven medicine toward a precision-driven approach that caters medication to the unique needs of each patient. Diagnostic tests that evaluate a patient’s tumor cells from a biopsy sample and find specific markers on the cancer cells’ surface are used in thorough biomarker analysis.

  • Robotics:

Over the last decade, many advanced robotic surgery methods have emerged as safer and more effective alternatives to traditional surgical procedures. Robotic technology, especially in recent times, has reduced in size and become much more efficient, allowing doctors to perform more complex procedures with fewer and smaller incisions.

Many surgeons have transitioned to robotic systems as a more advanced form of Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS). However, robotic technology in the field of medicine is relatively new and still has a lot of potential.

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