Monday, October 18

What is lung cancer ?: causes, symptoms and treatment



Almost 11% of all cancers diagnosed in Spain in 2020 belong to lung cancer, which means that throughout this year, in our country about 30,000 new cases will be diagnosed, very high figures of a disease with high morbidity and mortality.

The vast majority of lung cancers in Spain still occur in men, so that out of every 4 lung cancers diagnosed in our country 3 occur in men and 1 in women, but it is important to note that in recent years there has been a clear downward trend in lung cancer in men and, on the contrary, a clear increase in the incidence of this same tumor among women, all due to the greater quitting of smoking among men and incorporation into smoking of women, especially since the 1970s.

Causes of the appearance of lung cancer

Tobacco is the main causing lung cancer, without a doubt. 90% of new lung cancer diagnoses occur in smokers. Apart from tobacco, environmental pollution is another factor that, although with a much lower incidence, must also be taken into account. The molecular alterations and factors of genetic origin they can also be risk factors, with much lower weight, of suffering from lung cancer

Symptoms of lung cancer

A chest X-ray can provide valuable information.


In the initial stages the disease is silent. Does not produce any symptoms. It is not unusual to diagnose a lung tumor in a person who has an X-ray for any other cause. When the disease is more advanced it can produce symptoms But, in general, there are no specific symptoms of lung cancer, they are respiratory symptoms (cough, feeling short of breath, sputum stained with blood, chest discomfort, etc.) that can be confused with any other respiratory disease.

Tests to detect the tumor

The simplest, most accessible and the first test that should be performed on anyone with respiratory symptoms is the anamnesis and clinical examination. Irreplaceable. Once the doctor has evaluated the patient, he will decide the next step, which will be the radiological study. A chest X-ray can provide valuable information.

The use of the computed tomography (CT) It is widespread but, in general, it should not be performed without a previous X-ray. Once it has been established that there is a suspicious lung lesion biopsy is mandatory and if the result of the biopsy informs us of the existence of a tumor, the extension study should be completed, usually with PET/TC, to know exactly the extent of the disease and based on it plan the most appropriate treatment.

What are the most effective treatments for its cure?

The simplest test is the anamnesis and clinical examination


In planning the lung cancer treatment a multidisciplinary team intervenes because it is based on 3 fundamental pillars: thoracic surgery, responsible for the removal of the tumor; the radiotherapy which deals with irradiation and medical oncology, responsible for systemic treatments. Using one, the other, or a combination of them depends on the decision made. consensus in the tumor committee formed by responsible diagnosis and treatment (surgeons, radiotherapists, oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, nuclear physicians, and molecular biologists).

Study the tumor to offer personalized treatment

In the Quirónsalud Torrevieja Oncology Platform In addition to the genome, for more than 10 years the tumor transcriptome on a regular basis, designing specific therapeutic strategies with different degrees of clinical benefit for the patient in up to 70% of the cases studied.

Tumors frequently change characteristics to survive in the hostile environment that the body’s defenses and the treatments administered suppose. Therefore repeat the transcriptome after progression to a previous treatment has been revealed as a first order tool to be able to offer a personalized therapy with greater probabilities of efficacy.

This technique allows study the characteristics in real time molecules of greater relevance to the tumor at each moment of its evolution, what are your strengths and weaknesses, and thus administer to the patient a personalized treatment, appropriate to the characteristics of your own tumor. It complements the data on the tumor that other disciplines such as Pathology or other Molecular Biology studies have been able to provide and provides very complete information on the characteristics of the tumor And, in Oncology, tumor information is antitumor power.

What role does precision medicine play in treating this type of cancer?

The precision medicine It is a reality today, which aims to characterize the tumor of each patient, individually, based on their genetic conditions, by studying the genome, the transcriptome and immunohistochemistry, to design the best strategy in chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

Survival rate today for lung cancer

Survival of cancer, in general, and lung cancer, in particular, is closely related related to how advanced the disease is at the time of diagnosis, so that the localized ones are largely curable, while the advanced ones with metastases are less likely to be cured.

Tobacco is the main cause of lung cancer


Thanks to advances in the knowledge of lung cancer and in the treatments to combat it, the life expectancy, for many of the patients with this tumor, has changed considerably in the last decade. The thoracic surgery improvement, more modern and efficient forms of irradiation, incorporation of new molecular diagnostic techniques, study of mutations and the breakthrough of medical oncology in recent years with the incorporation of therapeutic targets and the arrival of immunotherapy it is what has made this substantial change possible. Despite all the advances we cannot forget that lung cancer continues to be the deadliest cancer among men and 2nd in mortality among women.

Healthy tips to avoid the appearance of this disease

The main weapon for the prevention of lung cancer is give up smoking. Only with this could a very significant number of lung cancers be prevented. If you stop smoking before cancer develops, the damaged tissue in your lungs will gradually begin to repair on its own. Regardless of how old or how long you’ve smoked, quitting can lower your risk of lung cancer and help you live longer. Likewise, exposure to risk factors should be avoided in the workplace or in meetings.

The main weapon for preventing lung cancer is to quit smoking


Other factors that could help prevent it would be maintain healthy lifestyle habits (healthy diet, avoid obesity, sedentary lifestyle, etc.) and decrease environmental pollution. For example, studies reveal that high concentrations of radon gas, a radioactive gas that is formed by the decomposition of uranium and that leaks from the ground and mixes with the air or pollutes the water reserves inside the houses they can favor the appearance of lung tumors.

Quirónsalud Torrevieja location

Partida de la Loma, s / n, 03184 Torrevieja, Alicante


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