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Taking the fight to Lung Cancer

GLOBALLY, lung cancer remains one of the most common and deadly cancers accounting for approximately two million new cases and 1.8 million deaths each year.

The disease is no longer confined to male smokers; with rising cases being detected in non-smokers and women. Tobacco smoking aside, second-hand smoke exposure and a family history of the disease are significant risk factors.

In Malaysia, allmost 95% of cases are detected late at an advanced stage.

Screening with a low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) chest scan can be life-saving. The LDCT scan is quick, painless and requires no fasting or prior blood test. The benefits include detecting early-stage lung cancer before it has spread to the lymph nodes and outside the lung.

High-risk individuals who may benefit include current or former smokers (aged 45-75 years) who have been smoking at least a pack a day for 20 years and anyone with a family history of the disease. Surgery is the curative treatment of choice for early-stage lung cancer, although progress in molecular and genetics has spurred new immunotherapy and targeted therapy treatments for lung cancer.

Moving forward in 2023, a greater use of precision diagnostics (next-generation sequencing or NGS) and even more sophisticated therapies are expected to be available. The best outcomes are often achieved when all the above therapies are combined in a coordinated manner through the cooperation of specialists such as oncologists, thoracic surgeons and chest physicians.

Lung Cancer Network Malaysia (LCNM) is a disease centric, not-for-profit NGO established in 2018 by Dr Anand Sachithanandan and Dr Tho Lye Mun to improve lung cancer outcomes through greater awareness, advocacy and education.

LCNM supports smoking control measures, screening for early disease including the innovative use of artificial intelligence (AI), the progress of modern cancer therapies such as immunotherapy, targeted therapy and precision radiotherapy and multidisciplinary cooperation.

Numerous useful resources are freely available on its website to help patients and their caregivers better navigate the cancer journey.

Article Source: THE STAR, STAR Special 2023.02.04


Dr Tho Lye Mun

Consultant Clinical Oncologist

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