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Going under the knife can save your life, says lung specialist

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Surgery can reduce the chance of death from lung cancer by a third, lung specialist Dr Manoon Leechawengwongs said on Monday.

He was citing the case of an 84-year-old man who was treated for third-stage lung cancer in 2019.

Dr Manoon explained that the patient had stopped smoking for 35 years, but still had high blood pressure and higher than normal carcinoembryonic antigen level.

“We decided to cut the patient’s lower left lung and lymph nodes in the chest cavity after a 5-centimetre tumour was found,” he said, adding that the tumour was a poorly differentiated nonkeratinizing squamous cell cancer.

He said cancer had spread to lymph nodes near the tumour but not to lymph nodes in the chest cavity.

“After the surgery, the patient recovered gradually without having to rely on chemotherapy or radiation,” he said, adding that the patient is healthy three years later.

Lung cancer, or lung carcinoma, usually involves a malignant tumour characterised by uncontrolled cell growth in the lung tissues.

Up to 85 per cent of the cases of lung cancer are due to long-term smoking, though 10-15 per cent of cases have occurred in persons who have never smoked.

These cases are often caused by a combination of genetic factors, exposure to radon gas, asbestos, second-hand smoke or other forms of air pollution.

In 2020, lung cancer was diagnosed in 2.2 million people across the world, resulting in 1.8 million deaths. It is the most common cancer among both men and women.

Published : May 23, 2022