Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI - Around 22,000 new cases of lung cancer are recorded every year in Việt Nam, with the disease being ranked among the top causes of death, doctors have said.
Medical experts and doctors gathered at the seminar on the application of targeted therapy in improving survival for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients hosted by the K Hospital (National Cancer Hospital) late last week in Hà Nội.
According to data presented at the event, around 22,000 Vietnamese people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year, while 19,500 succumb to the disease annually.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of death among Vietnamese males, and the second-most common cause for cancer-related fatalities among females, doctors said. Over 34,000 people, men and women, in Việt Nam are forecast to contract the disease on an annual basis by 2020.
Despite many advances in diagnosis and treatment, lung cancer generally has a poor prognosis and a low five-year survival rate.
According to figures from Globocan 2012, every year, some 1.8 million new cases are reported globally every year, of which 1.6 million people with lung cancer die. Professor Nguyễn Tuyết Mai of K Hospital said NSCLC accounted for 85 per cent of all cases of lung cancer, with the majority of patients only diagnosed at a late stage when distant metastases has developed.
The rate of survival for these patients is extremely low, with less than five per cent of NSCLC patients being able to survive for five years or more after diagnosis. Over the past decade, targeted therapy has drastically improved treatment for NSCLC patients in Việt Nam, compared with traditional chemotherapy, doctors said at the seminar.
Targeted therapy is treatment using drugs that target gene changes in cells that cause cancer, while doing less damage to normal, healthy cells, according to the American Cancer Society.
According to the Deputy Director of the Albert Einstein Cancer Centre, Bronx, New York, United States, the vital role of targeted therapy in the treatment of advanced or metastatic NSCLC as a first-line treatment has proven helpful in prolonging the median overall survival rate to more than 31 months and median PFS to more than one year, nearly triple the time, compared with chemotherapy for advanced or metastatic NSCLC patients. - VNS