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Lung Cancer

diagnosis · treatment · research

What lung cancer is

It is the cancer that causes the most deaths worldwide, accounting for 16.6% of all tumours in men and 7.6% in women.

In these cases, the cancerous cells originate in the lungs and can grow to affect the surrounding structures. Depending on their initial location, these may be the ribs, heart, great vessels, oesophagus or vertebral bodies.

They may also spread through the lymphatic system, affecting the mediastinal nodes, the anatomical region between the two lungs, or the supraclavicular nodes. In addition, they can also spread through blood vessels to reach the liver, adrenal glands, brain and bones, causing metastases.

The major risk factor associated with this disease is smoking. In fact, smokers account for 80-90% of people who suffer lung cancer and their risk of developing it is 10-20 times greater than that of non-smokers.

The most common symptoms are a frequent cough accompanied by sputum, which may be bloody, feeling short of breath, and chest pain.

Most symptoms appear when lung cancer is in an advanced stage, so early diagnosis of the disease can improve its prognosis. The most effective treatment is surgery, but this requires the tumour to be localised and not to have spread to lymph nodes or other organs.

As a centre specialising in oncology, the IVO offers diagnosis, treatment and follow-up for patients affected by lung cancer.

The IVO has the IELCAP Early Detection Unit, where the early diagnosis of asymptomatic lung cancer is carried out in people at risk (over 50 years of age and with a smoking habit of more than 15 years) through the performance and periodic study of a multislice CT scan. This programme is part of an international project against lung cancer led by the Cornell University Medical Center and coordinated by the Arizona Biotechnology Institute and the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.

IELCAP Early Detection Unit

Early diagnosis to detect lung cancer in the early stages of the disease is very important, as it allows surgical treatment, or a combination of less aggressive therapies, to be considered to improve a patient’s chances of survival. 

The IVO has the IELCAP Early Detection Unit, which carries out early diagnosis of asymptomatic lung cancer in people at risk by means of periodic multislice CT scans. 

Treatment of lung cancer at the IVO

Lung Tumour Committee at the IVO

The Lung Tumour Committee is made up of a multidisciplinary team of expert professionals.

Thoracic Surgery Service

The Thoracic Surgery Service is in charge of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer

Medical Oncology Service

The Service's team of professionals accompanies cancer patients throughout the whole disease process.

Clinical trials

The current way we have of advancing and improving cancer treatment is through what we call "clinical trials".

A clinical trial is a research study carried out on people with the aim of learning more about how the body reacts to certain treatments. These trials generally seek to find drugs that are more effective than the current best therapeutic option for patients, or that have similar efficacy but a better toxicity profile.

Bearing in mind that almost all currently available treatments are the result of clinical research, the importance of clinical trials is obvious.

The IVO has a clinical trials unit for all types of tumours and participates in phase 1-3 studies as well as other types of studies.

Living with lung cancer

coping with the diagnosis and receiving treatment and psychological support

Whether you receive the news of an initial diagnosis of cancer or a relapse, coping with cancer can be emotionally overwhelming. Each person has their own way of coping with a lung cancer diagnosis, but there are some recommendations that can help you through this process:

  • Maintain communication and the company of family and friends, the people closest to the patient, who can provide a support network throughout the process
  • Talk to other people who have survived cancer or who are in the same situation. There are many local and national associations and support groups. The Spanish Association Against Cancer (Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer) is perhaps the best-known one.
  • Inform yourself in order to make the best decisions about treatment and medical professionals.

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