Facts & Myths about Lung Cancer

Myth #1: Only smokers are at risk of developing lung cancer.

Answer: No, people who do not smoke may also be at risk of lung cancer. More than half of patients with lung cancer in the United States have no history of smoking (never smokers) or quit smoking several years ago. This means that there are other risk factors that may cause lung cancer.

Myth #2: There is no treatment for lung cancer.

Answer: No, people can still be treated from lung cancer. Treatment goals and management depends on the stage, performance status, histology and molecular characteristic of the cancer. Those diagnosed with lung cancer should consult a medical oncologist to receive proper treatment https://www.psmo.org.ph/.

Myth #3: Chemotherapy is the only treatment available for stage IV lung cancer.

Answer: No, people with stage IV lung cancer can also receive other anti-cancer medications such as tablets (targeted therapy) or immunotherapy depending on the result of certain laboratory tests. Some patients can also receive local treatment such as radiotherapy or even surgery in some cases.

Myth #4: Alternative medicine alone can cure lung cancer.

While alternative medicine alone will not slow the progression of the disease, it may help as a compliment to conventional treatments. A study showed that patients who chose alternative medicine (ex. herbal medicine) alone for primary treatment of their curable cancer had greater risk of death compared to those who chose conventional cancer treatment. (ex surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormone therapy).

Myth #5: Survival of lung cancer patients who continue to smoke will not be affected.

Answer: No, studies showed people diagnosed with lung who quit smoking have a lower risk of mortality than people who continue smoking.

References:

  1. GLOBOCAN 2012: Estimated Cancer Incidence, Mortality and Prevalence Worldwide in 2012. Lung Cancer. Retrieved from http://globocan.iarc.fr/Pages/fact_sheets_cancer.aspx.
  2. Siegel R, Naishadham D, Jemal A. Cancer statistics, 2013. CA Cancer J Clin 2013; 63:11-13.
  3. Johnson S, Park H, Gross C, Yu J. Use of Alternative Medicine for Cancer and Its Impact on Survival. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2018;110:121-124.
  4. National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Adapted from NCCN NSCLC guidelines v6.2018.
  5. Koshiaris C, et. Al. Smoking cessation and survival in lung, upper aero-digestive tract and bladder cancer: cohort study. British Journal of Cancer 2017; 117: 1224–1232.
  6. Antonia S, Durvalumab after chemoradiotherapy in Stage III Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. N Engl J Med 2017; 377:1919-1929.