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Lung cancer blog: New technique to avoid unnecessary lung cancer surgery

Lung cancer blog Lung cancer main Non small cell  

Aug 23, 2005

New technique to avoid unnecessary lung cancer surgery

New technique to avoid unnecessary lung cancer surgery Over 170,000 Americans are diagnosed with lung cancer each year. Most of them have the subtype known as non-small cell lung cancer. If someone close to you is diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer, probably the most important question to ask is regarding the stage of his cancer. This is important because the outcome of lung cancer and possibility of surgery and a cure may greatly depend upon the stage of the disease.

Physicians often determine the stage of lung cancer using various techniques including CT scans, positron emission tomographic scans (PET scans), mediastinoscopy (examination of the chest using a special scope) or transesophageal ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration otherwise know as EUS-FNA (passing an ultrasound probe through the esophagus and doing a biopsy using a needle).

These staging techniques do not always accurately predict the operability of lung cancer. It is reported that, up to 40 percent of all lung cancer surgeries are performed unnecessarily due to inaccurate staging from the limitations of staging techniques.

A new study has found that, if the physicians use combination of mediastinoscopy and EUS-FNA the accuracy of operability of non-small cell lung cancer could be increased markedly compared to using any one of these techniques alone. The researchers found that the combination of EUS-FNA would result in avoidance of unnecessary surgery in 16 percent of patients. These findings come from a study conducted by Jouke T. Annema, M.D., Ph.D. and colleagues from Leiden University Medical Center in Netherlands and the study appears in the latest issue of Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

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We engage a never-ending daily struggle to understand and defeat the hidden mysteries of cancer. This is a long and laborious fight, but some moments stand out as grim reminders of the severity of the problem and ruthlessness of the enemy.

Lung cancer blog: New technique to avoid unnecessary lung cancer surgery

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