Lung cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in Orange County adults. While people who smoke still make up the greatest percentage of new lung cancer cases, people who don’t smoke are being diagnosed with the disease more frequently than before.
We’re not sure why, but the reasons may range from environmental to genetic. The truth is that anyone with lungs can get lung cancer. It’s not just a “smoker’s disease.” Here are some things to know about lung cancer.
Lung cancer has become more survivable. Breakthroughs in lung cancer research and treatment offer patients new options that are reducing symptoms and extending and saving lives. Immunotherapy, genetic testing, and ultraprecise radiation therapy are just a few of the advances that are changing the face of lung cancer in Orange County.
Early detection is key. Low dose CT lung screening increases the chance of catching lung cancer at an early stage, when the disease is more readily treated and may even be curable. Combined with expert interpretation of the results, this non-invasive test can make all the difference in your lung cancer care. Ask your doctor about lung cancer screening, especially if you are between 50 and 80 years old and you smoke or used to smoke.
Clinical trials are game-changers. These innovative studies provide patients with leading-edge therapies before they become widely available. Many of today’s most effective lung cancer treatments are the result of patients volunteering to participate in a clinical trial conducted by highly specialized clinicians and scientists. If you’ve been diagnosed with lung cancer, ask your physician if there are clinical trials that hold promise for you.
New thoracic procedures are precise, with fewer complications. Interventional pulmonologists and lung surgeons at top cancer centers now have leading-edge techniques that are far less invasive than traditional biopsies or open-chest procedures. With highly precise video or robotic assistance, complex lung procedures can be performed with a reduced risk of complications and a faster recovery for the patient.
Help is here for people who need to stop smoking. If you are a smoker, you can greatly reduce your risk of lung cancer by stopping smoking. An effective cessation program can help you beat triggers and cravings. Quitting tobacco is particularly important if you’ve been diagnosed with lung cancer; it may improve the chances of successful treatment.
Ask your doctor about your risk factors for lung cancer, recommendations for lung cancer screening, and resources and referrals to help you quit tobacco today. And, if you or someone you love has been diagnosed with lung cancer, be sure to get treatment from a physician who specializes in the disease.
Tingting Tan, M.D., Ph.D., is a medical oncologist who specializes in lung cancer at City of Hope Newport Beach Fashion Island.
City of Hope Orange County offers access to state-of-the-art lung cancer services, including low-dose CT screenings, a tobacco cessation program for patients, and world-renowned experts in lung cancer research, diagnosis, and treatment. To make an appointment at any of our four Orange County locations, click here or call: