Pune: “Genetic testing and targeted therapy drugs can significantly increase the survival rate of lung cancer patients. Cases of lung cancer are rapidly increasing in India due to rampant smoking, including active and passive smoking,” said doctors.
Dr Vidya Veldore, Principal Scientist at Oncology with MedGenome, said most cancers, including lung cancer, arise due to genetic mutations.
“Once the cancer-causing genetic mutation is identified through genetic testing on the tissue biopsy, doctors can administer more effective and better-targeted medicines, which are known to specifically kill the cancer cells, thus improving the clinical outcome and preventing the side-effects of chemotherapy,” said Dr Veldore.
“So there is an urgent need to create awareness about the importance of genetic testing for not only lung cancer patients but also in other cancers,” Dr Veldore further added.
She added that genetic testing has resulted in a paradigm shift in the treatment and management of cancer.
Speaking about the threat to public health posed by tobacco consumption, which further causes lung cancer, Dr Shailesh Bondarde, Medical Oncologist, Apex Wellness Rishikesh Hospital, Nashik, said India accounts for one-sixth of the 6 million tobacco-related deaths occurring around the globe every year.
“The impact on public health is very high as over 60 chemicals found in tobacco and tobacco smoke have been classified as cancer-causing agents. Tobacco-related cancer accounts for 42 per cent of all male deaths due to cancer and 18.3 per cent of all female deaths. Two most common cancers caused by tobacco are mouth cancer and lung cancer. Tobacco does not harm the individual alone. It also increases health care costs and decreases productivity,” said Dr Bondarde.
He added that lung cancer is now treated in a personalised way, unlike earlier when the same line of treatment was used in all cases.
“Lung cancer does not show symptoms till it has reached an advanced stage when it becomes difficult to treat or manage. Symptoms such as a persistent cough, chest pain and shortness of breath are common to other lung problems too. Because of this, diagnosis of lung cancer is often delayed, even though it can be easily detected using inexpensive screening tools such as chest X-ray and sputum cytology,” Dr Bondarde