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Treatment for lung cancer

Lung cancer treatment depends on the type and stage of the cancer, and involves a combination of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Newer methods, known as targeted drug therapy, can also be used to treat lung cancer. These work by targeting specific abnormalities in the cancer cells. Examples of targeted drug therapy include erlotinib (Tarceva) or gefitinib which blocks receptors that cause the cancer cells to multiply.

“Ultimately, prevention is better than cure and I would strongly advise smokers to quit smoking. Quitting smoking will reduce your risk of lung cancer even if you have been smoking for many years,” says Clinical Associate Professor Daniel Tan, Senior Consultant, Division of Medical Oncology, National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), a member of the SingHealth group.

New Developments in Lung Cancer Treatment

Singapore patients with advanced stage lung cancer can look forward to living longer thanks to a better understanding of the disease and more effective lung cancer treatment.

“Traditionally, lung cancer patients would go through the first four to six cycles of chemotherapy then wait to see if the disease returned or worsened before resuming treatment,” says Clin Assoc Prof Tan.

Recent advances in histology and molecular science have identified several subtypes of lung cancer, helping doctors better predict which patients will benefit from which therapy. For instance, maintenance treatment – where patients undergo 10-min chemotherapy sessions once every three weeks – has been linked to better survival in patients with advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer.

Such patients are surviving up to 12 months from the time of their cancer diagnosis, compared to eight months previously, according to a local study conducted over 12 years on more than 5,000 lung cancer patients.

Read the next page to learn how the latest drug therapy can lead to better outcomes.

See page 2 for common symptoms of lung cancer, and how the condition is diagnosed.

See page 1 to learn what is the main cause of lung cancer in Singapore.

Ref: K21

Check out other articles on cancer and lung cancer:

Top 10 Cancers in Singapore

8 Top Cancer-Fighting Foods

Must-Eat Foods for Cancer Patients

New Study Links Genetic Diversity in Asian Lung Cancer and Resistance to Treatment

Why Non-Smoking Asian Females Can Still Be at Risk of Lung Cancer

Why Asian Lung Cancer Tumours May Be Tougher to Treat