Dr. Suresh Ramalingam, Professor/Chief of Medical Oncology from the Winship Cancer Insititute, recently conducted an chat pertaining to the leading cause of cancer deaths among both men and women, which is lung cancer.
As many of us are already aware, Dr. Ramalingam reminded participants that secondhand smoke is a known risk factor for the development of lung cancer. Given that exposure to secondhand smoke varies and is difficult to track, it’s also hard to quantify the exact risk second hand smoke has on a person. However, recent studies have shown that states in which laws are in place to restrict public smoking are beginning to report declines in lung cancer incidence.
During the live chat, Dr. Ramalingam also touched on lung cancer treatment options and noted that there is no one-fits-all approach to treating a disease like lung cancer. Ideal treatment methods vary based on the stage of the disease. For early stage lung cancer, surgery is considered the standard treatment, however Dr. Ramalingam noted that some researchers believe stereotactic radiation will one day replace the need for surgery. Dr. Ramalingam added that radiation can also be a very effective treatment option for patients who are not candidates for surgery due to medical reasons. Chemotherapy has shown effectiveness in nearly all stages of lung cancer.
There’s great news for former smokers and the concern of developing lung cancer. Once a smoker quits, the risk of lung cancer progressively decreases. (For a timetable on the benefits of quitting, check out our blog post here) Recently, lung CT scans have demonstrated the ability to save lives in patients who currently smoke, or who have a history of smoking. Dr. Ramalingam suggests that former smokers discuss their smoking history with their physician to see if a lung CT screening is appropriate.
If you would like more information about the causes, prevention and methods used to treat lung cancer you may review Dr. Suresh Ramalingam’s lung cancer chat transcript here.
For more information on lung cancer, check out the related resources below. To become a patient, you may visit the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University online.