COIMBATORE: Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for 85 per cent of all lung cancer cases in India. A majority of cases are diagnosed late because the condition displays no early symptoms, or the symptoms are mistaken for other infections like pneumonia or a collapsed lung, thus, making treating the cancer challenging.
It is a common myth that only smokers can develop cancer. However, studies point out that men and women who are non-smokers too are prone to developing certain types of lung cancers, NSCLC being one of them.
“Until 2003, chemotherapy was the only available treatment option for patients with advanced NSCLC and it only improved survival by eight to ten months.
However, advances like targeted therapy can help patients overcome the shortcomings of chemotherapy besides improving survival by approximately 45 months.” Dr. Bharath Rangarajan medical oncologist at a city-based hospital said. Targeted therapy is effective against certain types of lung cancers that have specific mutations (changing the structure of a gene).
Immunotherapy or biologic therapy is another cancer treatment option that boosts the patient’s immune system to fight the cancer cells. Immunotherapy agents may help the body to control the cancer tumor by triggering or activating the immune response, he added.