Despite being one of deadliest tumors in the world, improvements in treatments and early diagnosis techniques, such as low-radiation CT scanning, have been fundamental in increasing the survival rate.
According to data published by the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM), about 25,000 news cases of lung cancer are detected every year in Spain. Around the world, lung cancer is the main cause of death by cancer, with a life expectancy of 15% at 5 years after diagnosis.
However, advances in early diagnosis and new therapies have given new hope. “According to the National Cancer Institute in the United States, since 1975 there has been a drop of 29% in the mortality rate of lung cancer”, explains Dr. Allan Sam, of the Pulmonology Service at MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid.
And experts agree that the early diagnosis of this cancer, thanks to techniques like low-radiation CAT scanning in smokers and non-smokers who gave up smoking less than 15 years ago, is vital to increasing the survival rate for lung cancer. This is so, above all in the case of men who, for social-cultural reasons, have long had lifestyle habits contributing to the development of this type of cancer.
So, specialists insist that, although there may be other factors like a personal history with cancer and some occupations that may expose workers to certain chemical components, the main cause of lung cancer is, without doubt, tobacco. “To be exact, smoking causes 85% of lung cancers and it is estimated that 15% of smokers will develop lung cancer at some time in their lives”, states the specialist.
For that reason, on International Lung Cancer day, held on November 17, experts want to emphasize the importance of stopping smoking, because by doing so the risk of developing lung cancer is drastically reduced. Indeed, 15 years after stopping smoking, the risk could be cut by 90% in comparison with active smokers.
“We know that by reducing smoking, we can reduce the incidence of the disease and the number of deaths. The public must be made aware of the effects of exposure to tobacco and education is our best weapon in the prevention of this disease”, ends Dr. Sam.