Ask the Experts: Physicians, patients talk lung cancer (w/VIDEO)

November 25, 2013 | by

“In 2010, there were 201,144 new lung cancer diagnoses … and 158,248 deaths,” said Jae Kim, M.D., assistant professor and chief of thoracic surgery. Kim, along with Karen Reckamp, M.D., M.S., associate professor and director of the Lung Cancer and Thoracic Oncology Program, presented remarkable facts on lung cancer, including diagnosis, screenings, surgical advances and progress in personalized treatment at a recent Ask the Experts free community lecture.

Here are some quick highlights from the lecture:

  • People age 50 and over who are current or former smokers with a history of at least 30 pack years of smoking are candidates for a lung cancer screening.
  • A robotic lobectomy is a minimally invasive lung cancer surgery that results in less pain, better lung function, faster recovery and fewer complications than other surgeries.
  • Targeted therapies, which target molecules and help block the growth of cancer, can be combined with traditional cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation, or it can be delivered on its own.

“We are at an exciting time in lung cancer research. As we start to understand how specific changes in the tumor DNA can lead to cancer growth, we are able to develop targeted treatments to block the progression. These treatments are improving both the length and quality of life for patients,” Reckamp said.

In addition to the physicians, three City of Hope patients of Kim and Reckamp addressed the attendees, sharing stories of their journey through lung cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Most people assume that lung cancer patients are, or were, smokers, but that is not always the case, Reckamp said. No one is immune.

Patients Angela Romero and Lisa Dias had never smoked, and patient Vicky Graham quit smoking about 30 years ago.

“In the year and half that I went through finding out I had lung cancer, I had decided that I was not going to let cancer bring me down or fear it. I just figured that I was going to travel a bumpy road,” Romero said.

City of Hope is working to make that road less bumpy.

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Sign up for our next Ask the Experts lecture, Cancer and Cuisine, on Jan. 28 to learn about healthy eating and cooking tips.