Lung Cancer is one of the most common cancers diagnosed in Lebanon with increasing incidence
Takeda team in Lebanon gathered insights from oncologists and pathologists who practice in different health care settings to understand how Takeda can support lung cancer patients.
Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers diagnosed in Lebanon and its incidence is increasing. The National Cancer Registry data show that 1212 cases were diagnosed with lung cancer in Lebanon in 2015, while it was 993 cases in 2012 and 881 cases in 2009. While we don’t have accurate cancer mortality data from Lebanon, data from most countries indicate that lung cancer is the number one cancer killer.
While lung cancer can occur in non-smokers, it remains largely a smoking-related disease. The best way to prevent it is by not smoking (including cigarettes, cigars, and most relevant to Lebanon, Nargileh). Having a national plan to curtail the smoking epidemic in Lebanon is of utmost importance. At the same time, proper smoking cessation counselling programs can help current smokers kick the habit.
Once diagnosed, most importantly is to catch the disease at an early phase. Emerging data about the role of screening low dose CT scans is very promising.
“Unfortunately, most patients with lung cancer are diagnosed at an advanced stage. For these patients, a multidisciplinary approach is very important.” said Dr Arafat Tfayli, Professor of Clinical Medicine and Director of Research at NK Basile Cancer Institute at the American University of Beirut Medical Center. It starts with proper imaging workup and a representative biopsy by the lung doctor or radiologist. Taking a biopsy large enough to establish the diagnosis and leaving enough material to do proper stains and genetic tests is very important. Therapeutic options for lung cancer are evolving very rapidly and include, in addition to traditional chemotherapy, targeted agents that block a specific gene in the tumor. Most recently, immunotherapy has become an essential component of therapy for this disease.
According to Dr Arafat Tfayli, improved screening and preventive practices should be advocated.