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Research and Clinical Updates on World Lung Cancer Day

Surabhi Dangi-Garimella, PhD
World Lung Cancer Day is a grassroots effort conceived by a lung cancer survivor. Here are a few updates on ways to prevent the disease and manage treatment.
Today is World Lung Cancer Day—a grassroots effort conceived by a lung cancer survivor, organizations around the world use the day to raise awareness on disease risks and treatment options. According to the National Cancer Institute, lung cancer is estimated to cause over 25% of all cancer deaths in the United States. That is a staggering number and one that could be lowered by sharing knowledge on preventive measures, early screening, and treatment options. Here are a few updates on the disease and its management:

1.       Screening

A non-invasive tool is being developed for the early detection of lung cancer. Clinical trials in the United States and in England are evaluating a breathanalyzer that can measure volatile biomarkers in a person’s breath. The chip-based device is much smaller in size compared with a regular chemical analyzer and is expected to be much cheaper as well as easier to handle in the clinic, according to its developers.

With respect to coverage for the usual low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening, CMS declared that Medicare beneficiaries can receive LDCT screening once a year if they meet certain predetermined criteria.

2.       Prevention

The importance of wellness and preventive measures is being realized across healthcare and a recent position statement by 2 organizations called for such an intervention to prevent lung cancer. The Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco and the Association for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence have recommended access to smoking cessation interventions for smokers in the high-risk group who undergo a lung cancer screen. One of the authors of the associated paper emphasize that those who get screened for lung cancer should be made aware of the multiple benefits of smoking cessation.

3.       Research and Support

Cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers need support. Organizations like the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) provide comprehensive support on the research and advocacy front for the cancer community. ALCF’s founder Bonnie Addario is a lung cancer survivor who, in an article in Evidence-Based Oncology, shared a novel approach of a remote clinical study participation platform. The trial, called the Genomics of Young Lung Study trial, is investigating mechanisms of lung cancer initiation and progression in those younger than 40 years of age around the globe.

4.       Outcomes

The site where a patient receives treatment can influence survival, and institutional volume plays a significant role, according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The study found that the 2-year survival rate of patients treated at high-volume centers was over 10% more than that of patients treated at low-volume centers. The authors believe that access to experts who treat lung cancer and a comprehensive team to manage the patient are important determinants of outcomes.

5.       Treatment Updates

Several treatment options are available for the patient to choose from following discussions with the treating physician, based on the stage of disease and individual preference for outcomes from treatment. According to the Mayo Clinic, these options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted treatment, and palliative care.

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