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A recurring theme throughout this dissertation has been the poor prognosis of lung cancer patients. We are seeing research into new ways of treating lung cancer; new agents and new chemotherapy and radiotherapy regimes are being tested. Work into TAF, carried out in Leicester and around the world, may prevent cancers from growing beyond a certain size, immunotherapy may yield positive results82 and gene therapy and work on the invasion of tumours may also bring increased survival. At the moment none of these therapies can be used, though immunotherapy is entering clinical trials.
Screening for lung cancer to improve survival by treating earlier, may be a worthwhile task in the future, but at present it is not.
It would seem that primary prevention appears to be the best way to prevent lung cancer, and the reduction in tobacco consumption would also have benefits such as reduced heart disease and COPD. We are seeing advances in this area, and some decrease in consumption has been reported in men.40 There is still a great deal of headway to be made here; making people aware of the dangers of smoking, reducing children’s ability to obtain cigarettes and countering the glamorous image of smoking. More work on why people smoke needs to be undertaken so as better tackle this problem.
The increasing efforts to prevent smoking and to help current smokers quit their habit will show no benefit in terms of lung cancer incidence for another twenty or thirty years, and it will in the meantime seem like a fruitless task.
If there are no significant advances in medical science the likelihood is that we will see a similar picture of poor survival for many years to come.
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