Lung cancer is an abnormal growth of cells in the lungs. This is the most common cancer and leading cause of death worldwide. It is most common cancer in Nepal too. It is mainly associated with smoking tobacco. However it can also develop in people who are non-smokers. Treatment of lung cancer is multi-disciplinary involving chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, targeted therapy and newer immunotherapy.
Lung cancer treatment program at Kathmandu Cancer Centre offers the highest-quality care for lung cancer patients. We follow latest treatment guidelines to give each patients their best chance. For advanced stage disease, palliative medicine expert plan best symptomatic management plans.
In this article we will discuss about symptoms , diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer that is available in Nepal.
When to see a doctor
You should definitely see doctors advise if you notice any of following symptoms.
A new cough that doesn’t go away
Coughing up blood, even a small amount
Shortness of breath
Losing weight without trying
If you have any of the above symptoms for more than a week or two, please consult your doctor for screening. It does not mean you have a lung cancer but it is always better to take a medical opinion.
How are lung cancers diagnosed?
Your doctors will ask for CT-scan or PET-CT Scan if you have symptoms. After imaging , biopsy to sample bit of tumor tissue is usually done. The biopsy sample is examined by pathologist and final diagnosis is done. Now a days, different molecular test may be done to identify exact molecular/genetic subtype of tumor. Most important mutation in lung cancer are EGFR, ALK and ROS1 for which targeted drugs are available.
Lung Cancer Screening
Screening in people who have no symptoms but are at a high risk of developing lung cancer saves life.
Who Should be screened ?
- Have a 20 pack-year or more smoking history, and
- Smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years, and
- Are between 50 and 80 years old.
A pack-year is smoking an average of one pack of cigarettes per day for one year. For example, a person could have a 10 pack-year history by smoking one pack a day for 10 years or two packs a day for 5 years.
How are Lung cancers Treated?
People with non-small cell lung cancer can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy or a combination of these treatments. People with small cell lung cancer are usually treated with radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Palliative medicine plays an equally important role in treatment of advanced lung cancers.
Treatment for lung cancer includes one or more of the following approaches.
Surgery is a good treatment option for early stage disease.
Types of surgery include:
- Segmental or wedge resection: Removal of only a small part of the lung
- Lobectomy: Removal of an entire lobe of the lung
- Pneumonectomy: Removal of an entire lung
- Sleeve resection: Removal of a piece of bronchus, after which the lung is reattached to the remaining part of the bronchus.
Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy x-ray radiation to kill cancer cells and to shrink tumors. Special equipment called LINAC produce focused radiotherapy beam. Radiation may also be used together with chemotherapy to treat lung cancer. Radiation treatments are painless and usually last a few minutes.
Whereas surgery and radiation treatment are focused at only one area of the body, chemotherapy goes throughout the body to search for tumor cells. Chemotherapy is given through an IV infusion, in most cases. chemotherapy works by interfering with the cancer cells’ ability to grow or reproduce. Different groups of drugs work in different ways to fight cancer cells. The oncologist will recommend a treatment plan for each individual. Chemotherapy may be given before other treatments, after other treatments or alone for lung cancer.
Targeted therapy are like precise weapon which find target in cancer cell and kill them precisely. So tests are done to see if there are molecular target in cancer cells or not. Most useful target in lung cancer are EGFR,ALK and ROS. Now there are oral drugs which are available for patient having mutation in these targets. These drugs are usually safer and more effective than chemotherapy. Targeted drugs like gefitinib,erlotinib, osilmertinib , crizotinib are available in Nepal.
Immunotherapy is a new cancer treatment approach that uses drugs, vaccines and other therapies to activate the immune system’s natural defenses so it can fight cancer. One type of immunotherapy drug, called “anti-PD-1” has been shown to cause significant tumor regression in a portion of cancer patients. They are given alone or in combination with chemotherapy. quarter of patients who receive it after a round of chemotherapy. Two immunotherapy drugs—pembrolizumab, and nivolumab—are most widely used in lung cancers.
Why choose Kathmandu Cancer Center for treatment of Lungs cancer in Nepal ?
As a leading hospital for cancer treatment in Nepal, KCC provide some advanced and unique treatment for these patients. Some of these are highlighted below :
Area of expertise of our team:
- Intervention radiology provide CT guided biopsy/FNAC service.
- In house pathology for rapid diagnosis and molecular tests.
- Protocol based chemotherapy and immunotherapy regimens are available.
What is the cost of Lung cancer treatment in Nepal?
Treatment cost depends on many factors like type of surgery, radiotherapy technique, use of chemotherapy or targeted therapy, etc. However, the treatment cost is approximately around 50% cheaper in Nepal compared to the same quality treatment in India.
Contact us now for appointment or consultation.