SELLERSVILLE, Pa., November 14, 2013
– During National Lung Cancer Awareness Month – observed every November – Fox Chase Cancer Center and Grand View Hospital remind the community that this is a time to increase attention about a largely preventable type of cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Are you at risk?
Most cases of lung cancers are linked to smoking. In fact, the NCI says that about 90 percent of lung cancer deaths among men and about 80 percent in women are directly linked to tobacco smoking.
“Quitting smoking, or not starting the habit at all, is the best thing you can do to help prevent lung cancer, no matter your age and even if you’ve smoked for years,” says Hossein Borghaei, DO, chief of thoracic medical oncology and director of lung cancer risk assessment at Fox Chase Cancer Center.
Other risk factors that may contribute to the development of lung cancer include exposure to environmental substances such as radon, asbestos, and diesel exhaust; secondhand smoke; age; personal history of lung disease such as emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); and family history of lung cancer/high-risk genetics.
Types of lung cancer
There are two main types of lung cancer—non-small cell and small cell. Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type, affecting about 85-90 percent of patients diagnosed with lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
Small cell lung cancer accounts for about 10-15 percent of lung cancer cases. The cancer cells are small as the name suggests, but they can divide quickly to form large tumors and spread to lymph nodes and other organs of the body.
Symptoms of lung cancer
Symptoms of lung cancer may include:
Nagging cough that does not go away or gets worse with time
Coughing up blood
Shortness of breath, wheezing or hoarseness
Weight loss and loss of appetite
Repeated respiratory infections, including pneumonia and bronchitis
“Early detection can be difficult because there is no standard test available to effectively screen all patients for lung cancer,” explains Borghaei. “Symptoms often don’t appear until the disease has progressed and many early lung cancers are diagnosed incidentally when a patient receives a chest X-ray or other tests for an unrelated medical condition.”
Findings from a large national study have shown that screening with low-dose CT scans can benefit those considered at high risk of developing lung cancer due to age and smoking history. Based on this research, the American Cancer Society has developed screening guidelines, recommending low-dose CT scans for people between the ages of 55 and 74 who currently smoke or have quit smoking within the last 15 years, and have a 30-pack year smoking history (A pack-year is the number of cigarette packs smoked each day multiplied by the number of years a person has smoked.)
“It is encouraging to note that current research in lung cancer is focused on finding early detection methods using new technology and developing targeted therapies to treat patients who have been diagnosed with this disease,” Borghaei adds. “And as always, if you have concerns, talk with your doctor about steps you can take to be proactive about your health.”
For information about lung cancer screening and treatment, visit www.gvh.org
As a Fox Chase Cancer Center Partner, Grand View has early access to new research discoveries on cancer prevention and treatment. Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners is a select group of community hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey affiliated with Fox Chase Cancer Center—part of Temple University Health System—to provide the latest in cancer research, prevention, diagnosis and treatment in their own communities. Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners offers patients, families, and their physicians enhanced resources to deal with the burden of cancer, including the newest clinical trials.
About Grand View Hospital
Grand View Hospital, Bucks County’s first hospital, has provided residents of Bucks and Montgomery counties with comprehensive healthcare services since 1913. Now a century strong, Grand View offers a range of inpatient and outpatient care—particularly emphasizing the areas of surgery and orthopaedics, women’s and children’s health, heart and vascular care, and cancer treatment. For more information about services and programs, visit www.gvh.org.