Lung cancer is the most common cancer in men and the 3rd most common cancer in women in Singapore. The survival rate for lung cancer is better when it is diagnosed in the early stages. Unfortunately, most lung cancers are diagnosed at the later and advanced stages.

A cough that doesn’t go away? Persistent breathlessness? How do you gauge if these are common ailments or something drastically wrong? Does having a family member who is suffering from cancer puts you at a higher risk to have the same disease?

We have with us this month, Dr Patricia Kho, a Senior Oncologist with sub-specialty interests in breast, lung and gastrointestinal cancers.

If you have questions about signs, symptoms, precautions, risks, treatments or recovery on lung cancer, Dr Patricia Kho will be here to answer them during our upcoming #Ask The Expert live chat.

Date: 28 May 2013, Tuesday

Time: 11:30am – 12:00pm

Place: Online, on this event wall

Click here to take part in this informational event and remember to share this event with your loved ones and friends.

About the Expert

Dr Kho is a member of American Society of Clinical Oncology, Medical Oncology Group, Australia, International Association of Lung Cancer, Australian Lung Trials Group and Australasian Gastrointestinal Trials Group. She remains actively involved in clinical trials participation and translational research.  

Recap for #ASK THE EXPERT Session (28 May 2013) with Senior Oncologist Dr Patricia Kho : Signs And Symptoms of Lung Cancer

Q1. What are the initial symptoms of lung cancer? Is it possible for the lung cancer to happen or spread without noticing through any symptoms?

Some Initial Symptoms can include coughing that does not go away, blood in phlegm, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pains, unexplained tiredness, recurrent chest infections, hoarse voice. It is very possible and common for lung cancer to do so. Most lung cancers are advanced by the time of diagnosis.

Q2. Why do non-smokers contract lung cancers despite working and living in a relatively smoke-free environment?

About 15% of lung cancer occurs in non-smokers – this, unfortunately cannot be explained at present.

Q3. Lung cancer – primary and secondary which type has higher chance of remission? Primary lung cancer that has not spread has a better chance of remission. primary lung cancer that has spread has a very low chance of remission. I presume, secondary lung cancer refers to cancer that has spread from its origin to the lungs. Once cancer has spread, then the chance of a remission is very low.

Q4. a) What test is best to detach lung cancer early stage? ( my dad had CT scan in Feb normal n mar was diagnose with lung 10cm tumor)

Recently, there is evidence that screening with low dose CT in high risk groups such as heavy smokers may be beneficial as it may detect early cancers that are potentially curable.

b) how fast can tumor grow?

It grows exponentially. In addition certain cancers grow faster than others , ie they are more aggressive.

Q5. My mom a 77 years old healthy,non smoker has been diagnosed of Lung Cancer stage 4 last Nov. 2012.She was hospitalised several times due to shortness of breath and she survived.No chemotherapy,no radiation only palliative.Her doctor told her that she has 6 months to live.The nodules did not metastasize to the brain,liver and bones. How long she can survive?

Approximately 85% of lung cancers are related to smoking. There is a small group of lung cancers that occur in non-smokers. In advanced lung cancer that have spread to other organs, without active anti-cancer treatment, the prognosis is approximately 6 months (median survival). Lung cancer is not truly inherited but if there is a family history, there could be an increased risk. If she deteroriates, treatment will be dependent on the symptoms and is the aim is for palliation and for no anti-cancer treatment, then she will require a palliative care doctor and team.

Q6. Can patient undergoing chemo treatment consume common chinese herbs like red dates, wolfberries etc? Does this helps to boost their immunities and blood cells? what are the best diets for chemo patient?

Yes, wolfberries and dates are ok. As I am not a TCM Doctor, unfortunately I cannot comment on the benefits. A balanced diet which the patient enjoys is the most important.

Q7. Lung cancer – primary and secondary which type has higher chance of remission?

For advanced lung cancer, that is cancer that has spread from the lungs to other organs, statistically 5 year survival is less than 5%.

Q8. When a patient has been diagnosed with T2N0 colon cancer and has nodules found in the lungs what needs to be done to ensure it won’t turn cancer.

If the nodules are big enough, then a biopsy might be needed to confirm if it is or is not cancer.

Q9. What type of chemo and the session of treatment for lung cancer?

It depends on type of lung cancer. There are are 2 broad groups – small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Most of the chemotherapy regimens are platinum based and very between 3 weekly to 4 weekly cycles.

Q10. What type of food is most suitable for lung cancer patients and what should be avoided?

A balanced diet is most important. There is no particular foods to eat or avoid.

Q11. What’s the specific blood test to detect lung cancer?

Unfortunately at present, there is no specific blood test to detect early lung cancer.  

Tags: lung infection