Lung Cancer Breakthrough - Chemo Helps

Medical Author: Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D.
Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks

There are some types of cancer that have a particularly grim prognosis. The diagnosis literally carries a death sentence. One of these dismal diagnoses is pancreatic cancer. Another of these has been lung cancer , many cases until recently have been fatal.

Lung cancer is a particularly important type of malignancy because of its frequency and impact. Lung cancer is "the most common cancer" and it is now the leading cause of death due to cancer. Therefore, any significant advance in the treatment of this disease is correspondingly of great importance.

A new advance in treatment has been reported that concerns the most common form of lung cancer which is confusingly called non-small-cell lung cancer. It is responsible for at least 4 in every 5 cases of lung cancer.

The standard of care for non-small-cell lung cancer in its early stages has been to remove the tumor by surgery and then to monitor the patient carefully for some years. Up to now, this has provided the best hope in such cases.

However, many patients have died of metastatic lung cancer due to distant spread of tumor cells. The surgeon successfully removed the primary tumor but, tragically, the cancer had already stealthily traveled to distant sites in the body.