Lung cancer is curable: expert

MANILA — Lung cancer is treatable, and chemotherapy is not the only way to cure it, a health expert said Tuesday.

“People can still be treated from lung cancer, but the treatment goals and management may depend on the stage, performance status, histology and molecular characteristic of the cancer. So those diagnosed with lung cancer should consult a medical oncologist to receive proper treatment,” Philippine Society of Medical Oncologists president Claire Soliman said during a roundtable discussion with the media in Mandaluyong City.

Soliman said lung cancer treatment is made possible by a team of specialists – medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists and pulmonologists.

“Some patients would say: ‘I have lung cancer ayoko na magpagamot dahil chemotherapy lang ang solusyon‘. That’s not true because people with stage 4 lung cancer can also receive anti-cancer medications. We have new drugs called targeted therapy known as ‘magic pill’ in layman’s term,” she said.

She said some patients can also receive local treatment like radiotherapy and surgery in some cases.

While the thought of inability to be resected or have the tumor removed scares some people who have lung cancer and their families. Soliman said patients with unresectable Stage 3 cancer can still be cured via immune therapy after concurrent chemotherapy and radiation.

“A recent study even showed that patients who have undergone these had longer survival compared to those who did not receive any immunotherapy,” she added.

While some cancer patients are claiming “miraculous healing” through alternative medicine, Soliman warned the public against depending on it as an exclusive means to treat lung cancer.

“It may help as a compliment to traditional treatment, but alternative medicine alone will not slow down the progression of the disease. A study showed patients who rely on herbal medicines alone as primary treatment for their curable cancers had greater risk of death compared to those who had surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or hormone therapy,” she said.

Soliman also warned lung cancer patients who continue to smoke, thinking that it would not harm them anymore as they already have the disease.

“People diagnosed with lung cancer who quit smoking have a lower risk of mortality compared to those who continue smoking after being diagnosed with cancer. Studies prove that smoking can damage your lungs even more. It can also harm your family and friends,” she said. Ma. Teresa Montemayor/

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