Top Treatment for the Deadliest Cancer

Sponsored - Lung cancer continues to be the deadliest cancer in the United States, with approximately 135,000 deaths annually. Approximately 225,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in the United States each year. One out of every 4 deaths from cancer is due to lung cancer. “There are more annual deaths from lung cancer than from colon, breast, and prostate cancer combined,” says Dr. Jeff Burkett of Surgical Associates of Neenah.

There are several risk factors that make someone more susceptible to developing lung cancer. Those risk factors include:

- Tobacco smoking – cigarette, cigar, and pipe. This is the leading risk for lung cancer. Tobacco smoking causes 9 out of every 10 cases of lung cancer in men and 8 out of every 10 cases of lung cancer in women.

- Secondhand smoke is also a risk factor.

- Family history - If a person or close relative has had lung cancer, there is a higher risk of developing lung cancer

- Environmental exposures to asbestos, radon gas, tar and soot can raise one’s risk for developing lung cancer.

A low dose CT scan is recommended as an annual screening for current and former smokers who are between the ages of 55 and 80, who have had at least a 30 “pack year” history of smoking (packs per day x years smoking) and have had a cigarette within the past fifteen years.

For those who are diagnosed with lung cancer, several treatments are available. These treatments include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. As with any cancer, the hope is to detect lung cancer early enough so that surgical resection can offer a cure. In cases where there is no evidence of spread to the lymph nodes or other areas of the body, surgery is often the best treatment option. If there is evidence of spread, some patients may require chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments prior to possible surgery.

“If surgery is the recommended course of treatment, several different types of surgery may be available,” says Dr. Burkett. In the last 15 years, minimally invasive surgery has become the standard. Although open surgery may still be necessary with larger and more centrally located tumors, the number of lung cancer surgeries performed using minimally invasive techniques has increased in the last several years. In 2105, 50% of lung cancer surgeries were performed with minimally invasive techniques. In 2019, that percentage rose to 75%.

“Minimally invasive surgery can be performed with Video Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS) or with Robotic Assisted Thoracic Surgery,” say Dr. Burkett. “In robotic assisted thoracic surgery, a small 3-D high-definition camera is inserted into the chest cavity to provide a better view. The surgeon uses wristed robotic instruments which allow for better reach and dexterity. There are several benefits to robotic assisted lung surgery, including less operative blood loss, smaller surgical scars, and less pain and discomfort following surgery. Length of hospital stay and recovery is generally shorter for patients undergoing robotic lung surgery.”

If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer, contact the surgeons at Surgical Associates of Neenah. Through robotic assisted surgery we offer our patients reduced recovery time, smaller scaring, and shorter hospital stays. Our surgeons lead the area’s highest level trauma center. You do not need a referral to contact our surgeons. Please click on the links in this article to learn more how we can help you.