Only 11 per cent of lung cancer patients survive the disease for 10 years

26 Sep 2022 09:54am
Lung Cancer Network Malaysia (LCNM) president Dr Anand Sachitanandan
Lung Cancer Network Malaysia (LCNM) president Dr Anand Sachitanandan

The low percentage of lung cancer survival rate among other major cancers is driven by delayed diagnosis with only 11 percent of them surviving the cancer for five to 10 years.

People might be aware that breast cancer tops the list of deadly cancers for female and colon cancer for male.

But lung cancer is a very common cancer in Malaysia and the second most common cancer among Malaysian males.

Lung Cancer Network Malaysia (LCNM) president Dr Anand Sachitanandan said almost 15 per cent of cancers related to male were attributed to lung cancer and it was the fourth common cancer in women which attributed for about six percent.

“Lung cancer is the most common cause of all cancer related mortality in Malaysian males and in women only breast cancer is more deadly.

“The reason for all this is we are burdened with late stage presentations. We are diagnosing too many people too late here in Malaysia

“Based on the National Cancer Registry Report, you can see from both males and females almost 95 per cent cases of lung cancer has been diagnosed in initial presentation and someone is diagnosed almost 95 per cent cases has been picked up in stage three or stage four what we refer to as locally advanced and metastatic disease,” he said.

However, the cause of lung cancers are varied, even though someone who were not a smoker or living closely with smokers also could get cancers as well.

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Anand said, the poor prognosis amongst lung cancer patients was largely attributed to the fact that most patients often present with advanced diseases as often there were no symptoms of early stages.

“Family history and air pollution are emerging significant risk factors for the rising trend of lung cancer among non-smokers.

“If we can benchmark ourselves internationally and see how we perform we can see that again our five year survival rate of 11 percent lung cancer is pale in comparison to the more advanced systems in Korea and Japan.

“I can tell you that it is largely affected that they are able to screen the disease and pick up the disease in an earlier stage where its more amenable effective treatment with a curative intent,” he said.

The cardiothoracic surgeon said they despite how they could map out a tumor in terms of genomic molecular profiling, next generation sequencing and equally very advanced therapy, immunal therapy, personalized targeted therapy - even with those advanced technologies, the cancer was still non curative.

“In other words, we are getting our patients to live longer and a bit better but ultimately at the advanced stage disease, those who are diagnosed at stage three and for they will succumb to the disease. They will die of lung cancer,” he added.

In order to decrease the mortality rate due to lung cancer, LCNM had taken the first hand once again to partner with AstraZeneca and Qualitas Medical Group to broaden the access to lung cancer screening with artificial intelligence (AI) screening technology.

“AI chest x-rays will enhance diagnostic accuracy and expedite referral of suspected cases to a relevant lung specialist.

“With a more swift investigation and intervention, better survival rates are expected. Innovative medical advancements such as this deep-learning AI algorithm machine is a huge step forward and potential game changer for the medical industry,” he said.