Medical advancements in gene targeted therapy and immunotherapy benefits lung cancer patients in terms of survival years, as per the team of researchers at the American hospital, Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Khaled Hassan, of the Hematology and Medical Oncology Department at Cleveland Clinic, said: "While lung cancer is the most common and deadliest type of cancer, it's not necessarily a death sentence and could be treated as a chronic disease.
Medical innovations in gene targeted therapy and immunotherapy treatments can extend the five-year survival rate to 23 percent, up from 15 percent in the past."
Dr. Hassan stresses the need for early detection at advanced stage. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy continue to be commonplace treatments.
Gene targeted therapy with drugs that target specific genetic mutations that contribute to cancer growth, can be useful, especially in patients who are non-smokers but have genetic mutations, as there are more than 200 genetic biomarkers for lung cancer like EGFR, ALK, ROS-1, BRAF, MET, NTRK, and RET.
Immunotherapy treatments can also help people's immune systems to recognize and attack cancerous cells.
Around 90 percent of lung cancers are caused by smoking cigarettes, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Exposure to secondhand smoke may also increase the risk of getting lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent. Screening is required for those 55-77 years old, who have smoked one pack or more a day for 30 years, and currently smoke, or have quit within the past 15 years.
"Stopping smoking is the number one way to prevent lung cancer - and patients should immediately stop all forms of smoking: cigarettes, cigars, and shisha," said Dr. Hassan. "Families should talk openly about the risks of smoking, and if they have lung cancer, about the treatment options. Families of the patient should also have their homes tested for radon gas, the second-leading cause of lung cancer."
Patients with symptoms - coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, or blood in their sputum - should see a doctor for screening immediately, Dr. Hassan stresses.