One million cases of lung cancer are registered in the world annually. The statistical information about lung cancer is deplorable: six out of ten patients do not survive the disease. The statistic mainly presents the fact of the late diagnosis. The incidence of lung cancer depends on the area of residence, including the degree of industrialization, climatic and working conditions, gender, age, genetic susceptibility, and other factors.
Fortunately, there are effective methods of lung cancer treatment that include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy, and sometimes the combination of those ones. The selection of the most appropriate therapeutic options is made by the physician in cooperation with the various specialists. Prescriptions for patients with lung tumors are based on the type and the structure of the tumor, its stage and the general health condition of the patient.
Surgery. Surgery is recognized as the main type of lung cancer treatment at its early stages. During the surgical intervention, the doctor removes the tumor alongside adjacent healthy tissues to ensure the complete removal of the cancerous area. It is most often used for I and II, III, and also, in some cases, for stage IV lung cancer. During the surgical treatment, a segment of the lung, its lobe, or the whole lung can be removed. The extent of the removal depends on the size and location of the tumor.
Surgery can be carried out in the form of open (an incision is made that allows the surgeon to access the tumor) or thoracoscopic intervention (several “punctures” are made in between the ribs). Through the “punctures” special devices are introduced, making it possible to cut out the necessary volume of tissue.
Radiation therapy. Cancer radiation therapy method causes the destruction of malignant tumor cells, by damaging their DNA. Cells with ruined structures are incapable of further reproduction. Doctors use the method as an additional or main treatment method in combination with chemotherapy. The combination is actively used for tumors that haven’t metastasized yet but cannot be removed by surgery.
Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to stop the spread of the tumor by damaging its structure. It is characterized by instant effect, a high level of influence on dividing tumor cells. The advantages of chemotherapy include a huge variety of drugs and their relatively low cost. The disadvantages are the associated toxicity and side effects of the treatment. Most side effects are temporary and treatable with supportive drugs.
Targeted therapy. Targeted therapy is the most modern and advanced method of drug treatment of malignant tumors. It affects certain molecular genetic abnormalities that stimulate processes of division and survival of tumor cells. Currently, a number of drugs have been developed and introduced into clinical practice, aimed at eliminating the consequences of such violations.
How is lung cancer diagnosed?
For lung cancer diagnostics, doctors most often apply computed tomography. Due to its high resolution, it can detect most forms of cancer at an earlier stage, before symptoms appear.
Another essential method for diagnosing lung cancer is bronchoscopy. It allows the clinician to visually examine the larynx, trachea, and bronchi to determine the location of the tumor and its borders. Also, modern bronchoscopy allows doctors to obtain biological material for further research.
A more invasive diagnostic method is a biopsy, which is a puncture of the chest. The purpose of the biopsy is also to obtain biological material from the tumor area if this could not be done with bronchoscopy.
In addition to the abovementioned, ultrasound diagnostics, magnetic resonance imaging, blood test for tumor markers, and some other methods are used.
Where to undergo the treatment?
It is important to match the diagnosis with the right treatment. This requires a certified medical facility with experienced clinicians. As the world’s most transparent medical tourism agency, Booking Health recommends the following hospitals for lung cancer treatment:
- St. Vincentius Hospital Karlsruhe-Academic Hospital of the University of Freiburg, Germany
- Medipol Mega University Hospital Istanbul, Turkey
- University Hospital Heidelberg, Germany
- University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Germany
- University Hospital Frankfurt am Main, Germany
To find out whether the price, the treatment, or the hospital is right for you, leave a request on the Booking Health website, and we will contact you shortly.