Mr Andrea Bille, a consultant in Thoracic Surgery at The Lister Hospital is primarily involved in the early detection of cancer and treatment of lung cancer and in this article, he highlights three important topics about lung cancer:
1. Early detection is vital in improving the chance of long-term outcomes and possible cure. Symptoms such as a persistent cough, haemoptysis (coughing up blood), weight loss and chest wall pain in heavy smokers should be monitored carefully and early investigations should be considered.
2. Since the minimally invasive Nineties Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS) has been introduced for lung cancer treatment, we have seen more long term results than open surgery with less complications, and shorter hospital stay. The VATS surgery is performed with 1 to 3 incisions (total length less than 8 cm) and patient can go home within 2 or 3 days and the recovery time is between 2 to 4 weeks. Also, this new technique increase the number of patients who may benefit from surgical treatment as they can be operated on with less risk, such as patient who were considered not fit for open surgery because of post operative risk related to open surgery.
3. In the last few years, immunotherapy has shown promising results in different type of cancers, including lung cancer. A study on immunotherapy has been published on the New England Journal of Medicine in 2016 showing a significant improvement of survival in patients with stage IV lung cancer. Patients who have the traits needed for specific immunotherapy agents can be treated with this new drug improving the outcome (Research funded by Merck; KEYNOTE-024 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02142738).
The Lister Hospital works closely with other medical and clinical oncologists within the HCA Healthcare UK group, as well as investigating new and innovative therapies.
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