Prevention, early detection, and treatment are at the heart of lung cancer research throughout the world. Thanks to government funding and generous contributions from private individuals, cutting-edge research offers the greatest opportunity for us to fight cancer right at the front line.
Research into the most effective methods for preventing lung cancer is well underway. The main focus of preventative treatment is focused on the short- and long-term effects of tobacco smoking, and the best ways to support smokers to quit successfully.
Much research is going into gene inheritance and understanding genetic factors that may make a smoker more susceptible to developing lung cancer than other smokers, and those who are particularly vulnerable to second-hand smoke. The more we know about genetic vulnerability to lung cancer, the easier it will be to target at-risk groups and help them take precautions that protect them from developing the illness.
Diet & Nutrition
While it is widely known that a healthy diet that is full of nutrients and vitamins is a great way to protect your body and increases your chances of living a long and healthy life, there is still much research needed to confirm if diet alone can protect high-risk groups from developing lung cancer in particular.
The benefits of a good diet will not outweigh the risk of smoking, but following a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins may still be beneficial.
Early Diagnosis and Treatment
Spiral CT scans are now widely used as a more effective diagnosis method than chest x-rays. Those in high-risk groups are advised to be screened regularly.
Recent research into sputum sampling has proved be highly accurate at detecting mutations in the DNA of cells that have been affected by lung cancer. The current sputum sampling test is super sensitive, and more research is underway to find other tests that can detect DNA mutations and detect lung cancer at an earlier stage.
Real-time tumour imaging
New imaging techniques are emerging to detect lung cancer with greater accuracy. New highly detailed images such as four-dimensional computed tomography (4DCT) shows the location of the tumors as the person breaths, instead of a still snapshot. This helps doctors target radiation treatment more precisely, by tracking the movements of the tumors during the breathing cycle.
Researcher are developing immunotherapy drugs that help the body’s natural immune system fight the cancer and support the body to heal itself.
Some cancers have a layer pf protein that help them remain undetected by the immune system. The new drug blocks these protective proteins, making the cancer vulnerable to the body’s natural immune response.
Doctors are now using video-assisted surgical methods to remove small tumors, and robotic-assisted surgeries to treat smaller and hard to reach tumors with successful results.
Although research and treatment are going from strength to strength, more is needed before we wipe out lung cancer altogether. For more information on how you can donate and get involved, visit www.natcaf.org/donate.