Banner Health McKee Medical Center

SPR 2017

Spirit of Women magazine is a national publication presented to women by hospitals and their physicians. The magazine provides up-to-date, evidence-based healthcare information and promotes our hospitals as leaders in women's health excellence.

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21 You can reduce your risk of lung cancer by following some basic guidelines: 1. Quit smoking. While lung cancer mortality rates have increased for older women, they are declining for younger women, likely because fewer are smoking and many of those who do are quitting. Women who have smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years should get a CT (computerized tomography) scan to diagnose the disease as early as possible. 2. Exercise regularly. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that higher levels of physical activity lowered the risk of developing lung cancer by 26 percent. 3. Eat a diet rich in vegetables. Research from the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research suggests that non-starchy vegetables such as leafy greens, broccoli, bok choy and cabbage may protect against several types of cancer, including lung cancer. 4. Get regular checkups. Schedule wellness health care visits with your medical provider and stay on top of all recommended health screenings. prevent lung cancer Targeted therapy treatments Targeted therapy drugs (or other substances) block the growth and spread of cancer by interfering with specific molecules that are involved in the disease's growth, progression and spread. These drugs don't cause the extreme nausea, hair loss and other side effects associated with chemotherapy (although diarrhea and liver problems can be common side effects). That's because chemo kills all fast-growing cells, including stomach and hair cells, but targeted therapy drugs go after only cancer cells, which they find by searching for genetic mutations. The challenge, however, is that some patients' cancer cells don't contain these mutations, so the drugs will not work for them. Immunotherapy: Genetic breakthroughs Immunotherapy uses a patient's immune system to kill cancer cells. In 2015, the Food and Drug Administration approved two new immunotherapy drugs, pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and nivolumab (Opdivo), to treat lung cancer. The trial of Keytruda was so successful that it was recently shut down so the drug could be offered to all patients in the study. Keytruda is now a first-line therapy for stage 4 lung cancer, meaning doctors can use it for patients who haven't yet tried chemo. Opdivo was tested on a much broader range of patients than Keytruda, and it can be used as a second-line therapy for patients who have already tried chemo. "Both drugs are a great breakthrough for lung cancer treatment," says Dr. Yuanbin Chen, an oncologist affiliated with Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Hospital in Fremont, Mich. Like targeted therapy, immunotherapy doesn't cause debilitating side effects. In addition, it works only for patients whose cancer cells have the right genetic markers. For those 20 to 30 percent of patients whose cancer cells have a high number of PD-1 or PD-L1 receptors, immunotherapy drugs shrink tumors better and are more effective than chemotherapy at prolonging life, says Dr. Chen. Analysis of the genetic mutations of cancer cells is at the forefront of medical research. Scientists are still studying how they work, and clinical trials combining immunotherapy and chemotherapy are under way as researchers try to identify a treatment regimen that will be even more effective. "The future is very promising," says Dr. Chen. S EARLY STAGE SURGERY Surgery remains by far the best treatment for early lung cancer, and it's an increasingly effective option for patients with stage 1 and stage 2 cancers. In the past, a surgeon had to make a large incision to get to the lungs. Now, robotic surgery offers a minimally invasive approach, which reduces pain and recovery time for patients, says Dr. Nepal Chowdhury, a thoracic surgeon at St. Mary's Medical Center in Huntington, W. Va. Guided by a sophisticated three-dimensional video system, a robotic arm can make a smaller incision to remove the cancer. "Patients can go home in three or four days," says Dr. Chowdhury. "With traditional surgery, it's five to seven days or longer." 4 WAYS TO HELP

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