5 Things to Know About Lung Cancer

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By Staff Reports

(DGIwire) – Many people have a friend or family member whose life has been touched by lung cancer. Representing slightly more than 13 percent of all new cancer cases in the United States, it is the second most common cancer type after breast cancer in women, according to the National Cancer Institute—and the leading cause of cancer death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Here are five key insights about lung cancer:

  • There are three main types of the disease. Non-small cell lung cancer (which includes squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and large cell carcinoma) is the most common type, representing about 85 percent of cases, according to the American Cancer Society. About 10 to 15 percent are small cell lung cancers, with a small remainder being lung carcinoid tumors.
  • Different people have different symptoms. The more common symptoms include coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing up blood, as well as fatigue and unexplained weight loss, says the CDC. Other changes can include repeated bouts of pneumonia and swollen or enlarged lymph nodes inside the chest in the area between the lungs.
  • Several risk factors exist besides smoking and secondhand smoke. In addition to cigarette smoking (linked to about 90 percent of lung cancers) and secondhand smoke (which kills about 7,300 people annually), other factors include exposure to radon gas, radiation therapy to the chest, arsenic in drinking water and family history, reports the CDC.
  • There is only one recommended screening test. According to the CDC, the only recommended screening test for lung cancer is low-dose computed tomography (also called a low dose CT scan or LDCT). In this test, an X-ray machine scans the body and uses low doses of radiation to make detailed pictures of the lungs.
  • Scientific findings are advancing knowledge of lung cancer. Oncolytics Biotech Inc. recently reported preliminary data from a Phase II study of its lead product, REOLYSIN®, a proprietary formulation of the human reovirus, in non-small cell lung cancer, in combination with other cancer drugs. In the study, female patients had a median progression free survival of 3.98 months in the test arm compared to 2.84 months in the control arm—a result with a level of significance higher than that observed among the men in the study.

“Additional research needs to be performed to establish better lung cancer treatment for male and female patients alike,” says Brad Thompson, CEO of Oncolytics. “Our results, however, offer encouragement that oncolytic virus therapy might offer an improved level of care at least for women with lung cancer.”

Anyone with concerns about lung cancer should ask their doctor for additional information about next steps.

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