Less invasive lung cancer surgery?

June 7, 2010 9:34:16 AM PDT
Once thought to be a male predominant disease, lung cancer is now killing more women than breast, ovarian and cervical cancers combined.

Researchers say because the cancer was thought to be associated with smoking and primarily affected men, most women assumed if they never smoked or quit years ago, the cancer would not be a possibility. In fact, two-thirds of female cancer victims quit at least 10 years earlier or never smoked. In a new report prepared by Brigham and Women's Hospital's Women's Health Policy and Advocacy Program at the Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology, results indicate that women are now more likely to die from lung cancer, they are more likely to develop the cancer at younger ages than men, and women who do not smoke are two- to three-times at greater risk for developing the disease. (Source: Lung Cancer Alliance, "Out of the Shadows," May 2010)

CURRENT TREATMENTS: Current treatment options for lung cancer are based on the overall health of the patient, the type and stage of the tumor and the patient's preferences. A few common treatment options for non-small cell lung cancers include a lobectomy (a surgical removal of a lung), chemotherapy, radiation therapy or targeted drug therapy, and combined chemotherapy and radiation. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill the cancer cells and is usually administered through an IV or taken orally. Radiation therapy uses energy beams to kill the cancer cells and can be directly targeted at the patient's cancer from the outside of the body or through needles put inside your body near the cancer. (Source: Mayo Clinic)

LESS INVASIVE LUNG CANCER SURGERY: During a traditional lobectomy, an incision is made on the side of the chest, between the ribs and then the ribs are spread apart, so the surgeon can see into the chest cavity to remove the tumor. In a VATS lobectomy, video-assisted lobectomy, there are three 1-inch incisions and one 3-to 4-inch incision made on the chest to get to the chest cavity without spreading the ribs. During the VATS procedure, a small video camera and surgical instruments are inserted into the incisions and then the surgeon is guided through by images by the camera. A new study shows VATS had fewer infections, and the length of hospital stays were down from a week to three days when compared to traditional surgeries.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Robert McKenna, Jr., M.D.
Chief of Thoracic Surgery
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Los Angeles, CA
Robert.McKenna@cshs.org


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