Story on CNN about a new treatment strategy in the war on lung cancer. The process of staging tumors previously relied on a sampling of 5,000 tumors from M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, which was put together decades ago. Doctors use staging to guide treatment and predict odds of survival. It looks at the size and shape of the tumor, as well as where the tumor has spread.
Doctors have come up with a new way to stage, that uses 100,000 tumor samples from around the world. Doctors say the plan will move a good number of people from the non-operable category to the operable category. It appears that the new staging will refine the treatment options and give more aggressive treatment options to those who had little options before, and could give more targeted treatment to those with smaller tumors. Hopefully this will increase survival rates for all.
As a side note, the American Cancer Society has announced a change in their advertising strategy for the next year. The focus of their ad campaign will be the effect of the health care crisis on cancer mortality rates. Studies have shown that the lack of insurance leads to delays in detecting malignancies, which results in more cancer deaths. There is no doubt that improvements in the way we handle health insurance in this country will lead to less cancer deaths. People who can’t afford to go to the doctor often find out they have cancer too late. The ACS is doing a great thing.