'lung cancer' posts
As lung cancer awareness month approaches us in November, we think about what lung cancer risk means to ourselves, friends, family members, and our patients. Many don’t know that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., far surpassing the rates of other cancers like breast, colon, and prostate.
What’s the risk of getting lung cancer?
The health risks from cigarette smoking are considerable and pose the largest risk for lung cancer; more than any other risk factors combined. Men who smoke are at 23 x the increased risk and women at 16 x the risk for lung cancer. This lung cancer risk is directly correlated with the concentration of (numbers of cigarettes smoked each day) X (number of years smoked).
Fortunately, the number of those who have quit smoking is growing, but sadly, more than half of all newly diagnosed lung cancers today are occurring in former smokers or non-smokers. People who have quit smoking remain at continued risk for lung cancer and there is also concern about lung cancer in second-hand smoke exposure.
The positive news on lung cancer is that two large multicenter research trials have been conducted in the past 12 years. The Swedish Cancer Institute was a major study site for one of these trials in association with Seattle Radiology. These trials have very clearly and consistently shown significant benefit in the early detection of lung cancer with low dose CT scan, reducing lung cancer mortality by 20%.
Who should be screened and how?
Understanding who is at risk for lung cancer is helpful but identifying...
SEATTLE – May 29, 2012 – Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) is set to open its new True Family Women’s Cancer Center to patients on Tuesday, June 5. Carefully designed with the female cancer patient in mind, the new 23,600-square-foot women’s cancer center gives Swedish Cancer Institute the ability to consolidate most of its services for treating women’s cancers into one facility. The new center acts as a treatment hub where women are guided through personalized and coordinated multidisciplinary treatment of their cancer, including disease-specific education and holistic support activities.
November is associated with two significant cancer awareness efforts that have meaning to all of the staff at Swedish Thoracic Surgery.
First, and most important to us, November is Lung Cancer Awareness month. Each year for the last 6 years we have suported this important cancer with an event for the public. Lung cancer is the most common cancer and remains the deadliest of all cancers. Yet, is is always shrouded in secrecy because of its association with smoking. But, many of the patients quit smoking some time ago or were never smokers and must still face this deadly disease.
This year, a public event - Shine a Light on Lung Cancer - will be held on Tuesday, November 7, 2001 at 5:30 pm at Gilda's Club on 1400 Broadway. Anyone who has been touched by lung cancer is encouraged to attend.
Second, November is also becoming known as Movember. This movement has been to support men's cancer initiatives and prostate cancer with the LIVESTRONG Foundation and Prostate Cancer Foundation. The men at Swedish Thoracic Surgery have come out in support of both of these important issues and are participating in Movember. As of November 1, 2011 - all of us were clean shaven.
What stage is my cancer, doc?
This is often the first question we get asked when meeting with a patient newly diagnosed with lung cancer. In this blog, I would like to briefly review the notion of lung cancer staging and its implications.
Staging allows us to define the extent of a cancer and determine its best available treatment. It also allows us to statistically estimate the prognosis of the cancer. Finally, adequate staging allows us to group patients with cancers of similar extent across different institutions or even countries and evaluate the efficacy of the treatment strategies and compare with new ones.
Staging can be clinical or pathological. Clinical staging is based on the information we obtain from X-rays and scans as well as from procedures where samples (biopsies) of different tissues are obtained in an effort determine what structures may be involved with the cancer. Pathological staging is only available when the cancer has been removed by surgery: i.e. when the pathologist has measured the size of the tumor, its extent and whether or not any lymph nodes were involved with cancer. One should be aware that pathological and clinical stagings don’t always concord 100%. Sometimes clinical staging under-evaluates how extensive the cancer may be, and at times it over-evaluates it, particularly when clinical staging is based only on X-ray information. This is particularly true with the evaluation of lymph nodes that drain the area where the cancer has come from. The role of your lung cancer surgeon in adequately gathering that information to develop the best treatment plan cannot be emphasized enough.
The system we use to define a stage is called the TNM system.