The Hospiten Group, through their Thoracic Surgery Unit, recommends the prevention of risk factors, mainly smoking
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, September 13, 2022. On the occasion of European Lung Cancer Week, Sara de Cabanyes, specialist in Thoracic Surgery at Hospiten Rambla and Hospiten Bellevue University Hospitals, stresses the importance of early diagnosis of this disease. She points out that "two out of three cases are diagnosed late, mainly because of the asymptomatic nature of the disease".
According to data from the Spanish Cancer Association (AECC), a total of 29,605 cases of lung cancer were diagnosed in 2021 - it is one of the most common diseases among men, followed by prostate and colon cancer. It is also the tumor with the highest mortality rate worldwide.
Since the coming into force of the No-smoking Law in 2006, anti-smoking campaigns have grown to a point where they have achieved a slow trend towards a decrease in the incidence of lung tumors in men. However, the same is not so in the case of women, where an upward trend has been confirmed since 2015, due to women starting smoking later, according to data provided by the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology.
As the Hospiten specialist says, the main risk factor associated with lung cancer continues to be smoking, despite the progressive change in the histological profile of the disease. "Lung cancer is a disease that produces non-specific symptoms, like coughing or shortness of breath, which slowly, progressively get worse, so they are not perceived as alarming in most cases”.
Furthermore, she points out that currently, in parallel with advances in research on cancer treatments, especially in the field of immunotherapy, efforts to combat respiratory tumors focus on the prevention of risk factors and early diagnosis of the disease.
Early diagnosis, a key factor
The most important factor regarding prognosis in patients diagnosed with lung cancer is the stage at which the disease is diagnosed. The more limited the extent of the tumor, the better the treatment options, especially surgical treatment, and the better the survival prospects.
Over the last 15 years, there have been numerous studies which have predicted a 20% reduction in mortality due to lung cancer thanks to early diagnosis. These findings have led various scientific societies to support the establishment of early diagnosis programs. Specifically, they have positioned themselves in favor of screening programs in accredited centers with multidisciplinary teams in the management and diagnosis of lung cancer.
In the case of Spain, the societies for Oncology, Pulmonology, Thoracic Surgery and Medical Radiology support lung cancer screening by means of low-dose radiation CT scans in asymptomatic individuals, with an accumulated smoking habit of more than 30 packets a year and under a standardized lung cancer screening program similar to those already in place for other types of cancer like colon, prostate and breast.
Types of treatment
The two main types of lung cancer are small cell (SCLC) and non-small cell (NSCLC). The latter is the most commonly diagnosed and the main factor in determining treatment will depend on the stage at which the disease is detected.
Patients suffering from non-small cell cancer can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, targeted therapy or a combination of these. Unlike those with small cell cancer who are usually administered radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
It is for that reason that Dr. Cabanyes reiterates that the smaller the tumor, the better the treatment options are, "particularly surgical treatment, and the greater the expectations of survival are”.
About the Hospiten Group
The Hospiten Group is an international healthcare network with over 50 years of experience, committed to providing the highest quality service, and which has 20 private medical-hospital centers in Spain, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Jamaica and Panama and more than 100 outpatient centers under the brand Clinic Assist. Founded by Dr. Pedro Luis Cobiella, the group attends more than 2,000,000 patients from all over the world every year with a workforce of more than 5,000 people.