May 22, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Smoker for 40 years beats lung cancer

Thanks to innovative treatment methods, an American woman who smoked for forty years was able to cope with lung cancer.

62-year-old resident of the American state of Michigan Denise Lee, an ardent smoker in the past, struggled with cancer for six long years, and yet emerged victorious in this confrontation, reports NPR.

As a teenager, at age 14, Lee smoked her first cigarette with friends. Her addiction lasted forty years. The American recalls:

“There was a period when I smoked up to 2.5 packs during the day.”

At the age of 55, while walking down the street, she saw an advertisement against smoking and decided to have her lungs checked, not even suspecting that she would soon hear a terrible verdict from the doctors. She recalls:

“The hardest thing was to tell my mother about my diagnosis, since my father died from cancer.”

A computed tomography scan revealed a malignant tumor in the woman, fortunately at an early stage. A five-centimeter tumor was removed during surgery using a new method. As Robert Wynn, a lung cancer specialist at Virginia Commonwealth University, explains, the main difference is the ability to better identify mutations in a patient's specific cancer. The doctor also noted that earlier during surgery they used blunt instruments, which caused a lot of damage to healthy areas:

“We moved to the molecular level of treatment for each specific lung cancer, and that was a turning point.”

One of the innovative treatment methods is targeted therapy – a targeted effect on cancer cells carried out at the molecular level. Specialists identify genetic biomarkers in mutated cancer cells that need to be targeted, and then deliver drugs that attack those targets and shrink the tumor.

Another new method is immunotherapy, which is usually taken in pill form. This stimulates the body's defense system to identify foreign cells and then use its own powers to fight the cancer like a virus.

As scientists discover new cancer genes, they are creating a wider range of these drugs. Over the past 5 years, the latest treatment methods have increased the number of patients who were cured by 22%. In some cases, innovative methods can help cure advanced cancer, says Chi-Fu Jeffrey Young, a surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Doctors tirelessly call for annual checks of the body for the presence of malignant tumors. This is especially true for smokers with 20 years of experience or more.

The American regulator, as previously reported, approved combination therapy with Rybrevant for patients with non-small cell lung cancer and a mutation in the EGFR protein, which causes rapid tumor growth. Studies have shown that this drug, in combination with chemotherapy, reduces the risk of disease progression or death by 61% compared to treatment with chemotherapy alone.

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