Posts Tagged ‘lung cancer risk factors’

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month – Reduce Your Cancer Risks Today

lung-cancerAccording to the American Cancer Society (ACS), lung cancer accounts for about 13% of all new cancers. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. For smokers, the risk of lung cancer is higher than non-smokers’ risk, so I encourage smokers to make a plan to quit smoking during this Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

I would also recommend that you stay away from all tobacco products and byproducts, including secondhand smoke. It’s never too late to stop smoking. Contact Emory HealthConnection at 404-778-7777 to learn more from a registered nurse about finding a primary physician who can assist you in your health goals.

In addition to not smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests you get your home tested for radon. Radon, a naturally occurring gas that comes from rocks and dirt, is the second-leading cause of lung cancer. Radon can have a big impact on indoor air quality. If you would like more information on test kits, call 1-800-ASK-UGA1 or visit www.UGAradon.org.

 

Emory Healthcare

At Emory Healthcare, we’re here to help you find the care you need, when you need it. With more than 2,000 doctors and 300 locations, including eleven hospitals, primary care offices, urgent cares and MinuteClinics, we’re delivering specialized care across the region. If you have questions about how you can boost your health, find a doctor near you to help you get and stay healthy.

Request an appointment

 

About Dr. Sancheti

sanchetiLocated at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Manu S. Sancheti, MD, specializes in thoracic oncology, minimally invasive thoracic surgery, esophageal surgery, and lung transplantation.

A board certified thoracic surgeon, Dr. Sancheti is an assistant professor of Surgery in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery of the Department of Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine. He joined the Emory faculty in 2014. Dr. Sancheti holds memberships with the American College of Surgeons, the American Medical Association, the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, the Southern Thoracic Surgical Association and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

Dr. Sancheti received his MD from the University of Alabama School of Medicine in 2006, after which he did a general surgery residency at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City from 2006-2011. He joined the faculty at Emory University after completing his cardiothoracic surgery residency on a general thoracic track there.

 

Lung Cancer Chat Takeaways

lung-chat-260x200According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in both men and women in the U.S.  At least 8.6 million Americans qualify as high risk for lung cancer and are recommended to receive annual screening with low-dose CT scans. Lung CT Screening for individuals at high risk has the potential to dramatically improve lung cancer survival rates by finding the disease at an earlier, more treatable stage.  At Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, a highly coordinated multidisciplinary team provides advanced care and clinical trials option with cutting edge new therapies for lung cancer patients.

We hosted a live chat with Seth D. Force, MD and Suresh Ramalingam, MD of Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University’s lung cancer team on Wednesday, January 11 where we answered your questions about lung cancer risk factors, lung CT screening, symptoms and therapy. We received a lot of great questions that our physicians were able to answer. Below are some highlights from live chat, and you can read the full chat transcript here.

Lung Cancer Chat Highlights

Question: Is a chest x-ray the best place to start for screening?

Dr. Force and Dr. Ramalingam: Chest xrays have not been shown to be helpful for lung cancer screening as confirmed by several older clinical trials. For patients at high risk for lung cancer, a chest CT scan is the best screening test.

Question: At what point should a patient seek specialist if diagnosed with nodule

Dr. Force and Dr. Ramalingam:  Any person who is found to have a nodule should seek a specialist. These specialists can include a thoracic surgeon, pulmonologist, or an oncologist specializing in lung cancer. At Winship, our doctors sit down weekly to discuss the specifics cases and use specific guidelines to determine the next step for a patient found to have a lung nodule.

Question:  What are some of lung cancer symptoms that should worry us?

Dr. Force and Dr. Ramalingam: Good question! Most patients who present with early stage lung cancer are asymptomatic. Symptoms that should cause someone to seek medical consultation are persistent cough, chest pain, coughing up blood, difficulty breathing and unexplained weight loss.

 

Thank you to everyone who participated in our lung cancer live chat with Dr. Force and Dr. Ramalingam. Learn more here.

Lung Cancer: Risk Factors, CT Lung Screening, Symptoms & Therapy Live Chat

lung-chat-260x200According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in both men and women in the U.S.  At least 8.6 million Americans qualify as high risk for lung cancer and are recommended to receive annual screening with low-dose CT scans. Lung CT Screening for individuals at high risk has the potential to dramatically improve lung cancer survival rates by finding the disease at an earlier, more treatable stage.  At Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, a highly coordinated multidisciplinary team provides advanced care and clinical trials option with cutting edge new therapies for lung cancer patients.

Join Seth D. Force, MD and Suresh Ramalingam, MD, with Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University’s lung cancer team, on Wednesday, January 11 at 12 PM for a live chat where we’ll answer your questions about lung cancer risk factors, lung CT screening, symptoms and therapy. All are welcome to attend this online open-forum discussion.

cta-chat-blue

Genomic Testing for Lung Cancer: What Does it Mean for You?

Lung Cancer Awareness MonthYou may be surprised to learn that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in the United States.  However, in the past few years, tremendous progress has been made leading to improved outcomes for patients with lung cancer.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, genomics is “the study of all the genes in a person, as well as the interactions of those genes with each other and a person’s environment.”  While 99.9% of everyone’s genetic makeup is identical, the difference in the remaining 0.1% helps inform researchers about disease. For patients with certain subtypes of lung cancer, we have now made genomic testing of tumors a routine part of care.  Understanding that each person has a unique genetic makeup allows for individualized treatment for patients with specific mutations in their tumor tissues.

Lung cancer is broadly divided into two types: non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer.  Approximately 85% of lung cancers are of the non-small cell lung cancer category, which consists of three major subtypes: adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and large cell carcinoma.

Adenocarcinoma accounts for nearly 50% of all non-small cell lung cancers and has had an increasing rate of incidence in the United States over the past few years. During the same time, we have learned a lot about the biology of lung cancer overall. As a result, sophisticated tests are now available to identify specific mutations in tumors of patients with adenocarcinoma of the lung.  For example:

  1. A gene called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is mutated in nearly 15% of patients with adenocarcinoma.  After years of research, we now know that treatment for these patients involves an orally administered targeted drug, versus combination chemotherapy. These novel treatments result in significant improvement of symptoms, disease control and survival.
  2. Through other research, we now know that another group of patients with adenocarcinoma carries a mutation in a gene called ALK.  For these patients, an FDA-approved treatment option named crizotinib is used, which has been found to provide great benefits to these patients.

Since it has been identified that a person’s genetic makeup plays a significant role in not only understanding their overall health and disease occurrence, but also the ideal treatment method(s) they should receive, nowadays, almost every patient diagnosed with lung adenocarcinoma is genetically tested for specific mutations. The good thing about this test is that it can usually be performed from already collected specimens used to diagnose lung cancer, therefore eliminating the need for additional invasive procedures.

Highlights of this post

At the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, we have implemented a standardized molecular testing protocol for every patient diagnosed with lung adenocarcinoma.  As a result, in most circumstances, when an oncologist sees a patient for the first time, detailed molecular information is available on the tumor tissue, which helps inform treatment decisions.

Unfortunately, for certain mutations, there are currently no FDA-approved treatment options. Yet, as Georgia’s first and only National Cancer Institute –designated cancer center, Winship offers a number of innovative clinical trials for such patients, with the aim of identifying treatment options that provide the best likelihood of success.

Through research and clinical trials, investigators and physicians have discovered that understanding the genetic makeup of lung cancer patients is key. This knowledge allows for optimal, individualized treatment options that lead to overall improved outcomes for our patients.

Suresh Ramalingam MDAbout Dr. Ramalingam
Suresh Ramalingam, MD, is Associate Professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology and Director of the Translational Thoracic Malignancies Program for the Emory Winship Cancer Institute. He is a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Clinician and Scientist.

Prior to joining Emory, Dr. Ramalingam was at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. He specializes in lung cancer, esophageal cancer and other thoracic cancers and is actively involved in the scientific development of novel anti-cancer treatment agents.

Dr. Ramalingam serves as the principal investigator on several early phase clinical trials in lung cancers, many of which are sponsored by the NCI.  He is widely published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and serves as a reviewer for a number of medical journals.  Dr. Ramalingam is a member of the Thoracic Core Committee of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group and serves on the editorial board of the journal Clinical Lung Cancer.

He earned his medical degree at the University of Madras in India, and served as chief medical resident in Internal Medicine at Wayne State University in Detroit.  He later conducted his fellowship in hematology and oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

Dr. Ramalingam is a recipient of the prestigious “Clinical Research Career Development Award,” which is presented by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. He has been selected as one of “The Best Doctors in America” and has received numerous awards of excellence such as The University of Pittsburgh Leadership Award for Excellence in Clinical Trials Program Development.

Related Resources: