Lung cancer is considered a dangerous and aggressive disease, responsible for the deaths of about eight thousand people each year. Recognizing the disease sooner would give more than half of the patients a chance of survival. In the last decade and a half, the development of lung cancer therapy has accelerated particularly. With modern procedures, including targeted cancer therapies and immunotherapy, doctors are increasingly able to save the lives of patients who are already at an advanced stage.
Lung cancer is a common cancer that is often discovered too late, at an advanced stage, when it is no longer or only very difficult to cure. In Hungary, about eight thousand people lose their lives in the disease every year. Smokers in particular have been at risk for decades, as eighty percent of lung cancer patients are heavy smokers, so regular lung screening would be important for them, points out dr. György Losonczy is an oncologist-pulmonologist. According to a professor at the Department of Pulmonology at Semmelweis University, screening can diagnose many patients at an early stage when they have not yet metastasized the tumor, which is why they welcome the launch of a planned national lung cancer screening program with low-dose CT, including smokers over 50. In the early stages, the patient can be completely cured with surgery or radiation therapy, says the professor.
In recent years, however, significant progress has been made in the treatment of advanced metastatic tumors, such as two-thirds of cases. The expert believes that the development of the field can be felt almost from one semester to the next, which has accelerated especially in the last 15 years.
At the Semmelweis Health Days, Professor Oncologist-Lung Therapist will present the most effective therapies, including the so-called targeted tumor therapy method, which allows pathologists to tell if a lung cancer has a molecular defect or a molecular defect based on a histological sample from a lung tumor. which may be responsible for the growth of the tumor. This molecule is found in 15 percent of cases, so it is possible for patients to receive a tablet instead of chemotherapy that only targets this abnormally functioning cell growth-mediating protein, the professor explains.
About immunotherapy, which has been a groundbreaking novelty in the treatment of lung cancer for the last 5-6 years. Lung cancer cells can usually defend against the body’s own immune system rejecting cancer cells, but drugs are now available that make lung cancer recognizable to the immune system, thereby stimulating the body’s own defense system to stop tumor growth.
With these healing procedures, advanced lung cancer can essentially be “tamed” from a deadly disease to a chronic disease. Patients with metastatic lung cancer can also be brought back from new types of drugs, the professor of lung medicine concludes.