Understanding Lung Cancer

December 04, 2018

Are you a smoker?

People would often jump into conclusion that a lung cancer patient is a smoker. The truth is, 25% of lung cancer incidences are not linked to smoking and the rate of never-smokers diagnosed with the disease has been increasing.

According to the American Cancer Society, other causes of lung cancer are exposure to second-hand smoke, diesel exhaust, asbestos, radioactive radon gas, and chemicals release by burning coal products.

What is lung cancer?

Lung cancer is a condition when some of the cells in the lungs undergo a change that makes them multiply out of control to form a lump or tumor. If untreated, the cancer could spread to other areas of the body.

Approximately 85 out of 100 lung cancer cases are NSCLC.

LVNG with Lung Cancer

Is there hope after being diagnosed with lung cancer?

Lung cancer, like any other types of cancer, is a very challenging condition and the fight against it should not be a solo battle. To help the Filipino patients, biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has partnered with the Philippine Society of Medical Oncology (PSMO) along with support groups such as Cancer Coalition of the Philippines (CCP) and the Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations (PAPO) in launching the LVNG with Lung Cancer online resource portal.

"Being diagnosed with lung cancer can make patients feel anxious and hopeless, which is why support is vital," explains Dr. Donald Ray Josue, Medical Affairs Head of AstraZeneca Philippines. "LVNG with Lung Cancer provides support by forming a community of patients and their loved ones so they can inspire each other and exchange helpful information about their treatment. Through the network, patients will realize that while lung cancer is not yet curable, it is very treatable. There's still so much for them to look forward to in their lives."

Breakthrough treatment

When treated early and properly, lung cancer patients will see hope in their condition. Reaching out to medical professionals can provide them with information about their treatment options.

Chemotherapy is usually thought of as the only treatment for cancer. 

Dr. Maria Luisa Abesamis-Tiambeng of Cardinal Santos Medical Center emphasized that there are now various options available depending on the patient's diagnosis, preference and recommendations from the healthcare team. Among these options include surgery to remove the affected lung tissues, radiation therapy that uses high dosage of radiation to destroy cancer cells, and targeted drug therapy.

Targeted drug therapy may be recommended based on biopsy findings. Through biomarker testing, the biopsy can reveal genetic mutations in cancer cells that can be targeted by drugs designed to zero in on those cellular abnormalities.

Therapeutic advances have made targeted drug therapy the standard of care for personalized medicine in the fight against certain lung cancers. One breakthrough is Tagrisso (Osimertinib), an oral tablet from a class of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) that target tumors with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations.

Tagrisso (Osimertinib) is a third-generation EGFR TKI that has shown better precision and power at stopping lung cancer growth and improving patient survival. A double-blind FLAURA study shows that Tagrisso delivers 18.9 months of median progression-free survival, nearly twice as long as older drugs that deliver a median of 10.2 months. Tagrisso (Osimertinib) also reduces the risk of lung cancer metastasis on the central nervous system by 52 percent, and lowers the risk of death by 37 percent based on its preliminary data.

“These results have made Tagrisso (Osimertinib) the recommended and preferred first-line treatment by international guidelines for advanced and metastatic non-small cell lung cancer—the most prevalent type of lung cancer—that tested positive for EGFR,” Dr. Josue adds.

EGFR biomarker testing is available across laboratories and hospitals nationwide including the Chong Hua Hospital, Hi-Precision Diagnostics, Lung Center of the Philippines, Manila HealthTek Inc., National Kidney and Transplant Institute, St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City, and The Medical City.
Learn more about LVNG With Lung Cancer at www.lvngwithphilippines.com or www.lvngph.com.