Hope for lung cancer treatment


Lung Cancer is one of the most feared and deadly forms of the disease.

It is also one of the hardest cancers to diagnose.

So Australia’s Lung Cancer Foundation has called in experts from around the globe to try to reverse the trend.

Kane Burgess reports.

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The 3-day forum held at the Brisbane Convention Centre highlights the challenges in treating the disease that kills 22 Australians each day.

New methods providing individual treatments for each patients have been encouraging.

Doctors have now identified many different ways to improve outlooks.

Kwun Fong, Thoracic Physician: “Before there used to be very little hope because there weren’t effective treatments. Now we see new treatments, ranging from screening, early detection, to new chemotherapy and targeted therapies.”

Lung Cancer cells are 10 times more likely to mutate than other cancer cells, meaning each patient requires specific treatment.

But that may help improve survival rates; only 14% of sufferers now live beyond five years.

While hope for lung cancer patients is improving with more targeted therapies, that hope is still coming at a more significant cost.

Anita McGrath is a non-smoker, but was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer in January.

She is paying $7,500 per month on an oral treatment.

Anita Mcgrath, Lung Cancer Patient: “I wasn’t diagnosed until August with the ALK gene so I missed all of those trials. So that’s why I have to pay for all of my own drugs now.”

The foundation says Australian patients wait longer than comparable countries for timely and affordable access to new medications.

Kane Burgess, QUT News.