Progress in field of lung cancer is mostly modest

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by Jacki Donaldson, 13 Oct 2006

Dr. Chandra Belani, Professor of Medicine and Oncology at the University of Pittsburg Cancer Institute, is a leader in the study of lung cancer. During a podcast interview, Belani shares some thoughts on the state of lung cancer -- currently the most common cause of cancer death in the United States.

Belani reveals that progress in the areas of lung cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis, and treatment can best be described as modest. There has been some progress -- and there are many on-going studies in these areas -- but there are no major breakthrough stories. Belani says there has been modest progress in diagnosis with the use of CT scans and PET scans -- and a combination of the two. There has been modest progress in chemotherapy treatment options. There has been no significant advance in detection -- and prevention is mostly in the hands of each individual since 90 percent of lung cancer cases are related to smoking.

Belani shares that true achievement would come with the discovery of a biomarker to detect lung cancer early and to lower overall mortality rates. He would also like to determine why he is seeing an increase in lung cancer cases among non-smokers.

The bar is being raised, says Belani. But it's slow going.

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