Treatment of lung cancer in Germany
Lung cancer is a common oncological disease found largely in developed countries. There are about 50-80 people suffering from this disease in every 100 thousand people. Peak of the incidence occurs at the age of 55-65.
Causes of Lung cancer
Smoking is the main risk factor for the development of lung cancer. This bad habit is the reason for lung cancer in about 80% of males. Smoking also contributes to the unfavourable course of the illness. The mortality rate is 15 times higher among smokers than among non-smokers.
If a person quits smoking, this leads to a gradual reduction of the risk of lung cancer. In approximately 20 years after a person stops smoking the chance of cancer will be the same as for a person who have never smoked.
Other risk factors:
- Radon (gas, the concentration of which is found in the soil and the atmosphere largely influences on the incidence of lung cancer in different geographic areas)
- Occupational hazards (asbestos, arsenic, nickel, chromium, coal)
- Viral infections (cytomegalovirus, human virus of papilloma)
The highest risks of lung cancer are males who smoke and are constantly exposed to asbestos. These factors work in synergy that significantly increases the possibility of the malignant pathology.
Lung cancer - Symptoms
The illness is asymptomatic during the early stages and it is hard to detect the pathological process. Since the moment the tumour first appears up until the first clinical signs; this can take 2-3 years.
Symptoms depend on the number of factors:
- Tumour location (central or peripheral)
- Tumour size
- Growth forms of the malformation
- Histological structure of the tumour
Central lung cancer is diagnosed, if the malformation is growing from the mucous membrane of the large bronchi. In this case, the pathological process manifests itself much earlier. The larger the diameter of the bronchus, the more pronounced the symptoms.
The main clinical manifestations are:
- Dry cough
- Allocation of mucous or mucopurulent sputum
- Hemoptysis or the coughing up of blood is observed among 50% of patients
- Symptom of raspberry jelly" is a variant of hemoptysis when sputum diffusely painted in crimson
Other symptoms depend on the growth forms of the tumour:
- Shortness of breath while squeezing the pulmonary arteries and veins
- Hoarseness during germination in the recurrent nerve
- Puffy face with a cyanotic shade, a swelling of veins in the chest, neck, arms if the superior vena cava has been damaged
- A pain in the chest during germination in the pleura
- A pain in the heart during germination in the pericardium
Peripheral lung cancer has similar symptoms. This type of cancer is developing from the small bronchi. But the symptoms appear much later.
Sometimes peripheral cancer can have the same process as pneumonia. In this case it has the characteristic features of the inflammation process in the lung tissues:
- Increase in body temperature
- Moist cough
When the location of the peripheral lung cancer is on top of the lung, brachial plexus and the sympathetic nerve are affected. This is accompanied by soreness in the shoulder or upper arm.
Horner's syndrome might occur which manifests itself:
- Omission of the upper eyelid
- Retraction of the eyeball
- Narrowing of the pupil
- Weakening of the reaction of the pupil to light
There are other atypical forms of lung cancer, when the tumour is small in size, but it metastasizes into other organs. In this case, brain or bone damage can get at the forefront of clinical picture.
As with any cancer, the occurrence of malignancy in the lung provokes a number of common symptoms. This can be evident through a fever, weakness, poor appetite, rapid weight loss, headache.
Lung cancer - Diagnostics
Early diagnostics of the lung cancer is complicated. 70% of patients only see a doctor when the disease in not curable anymore. The reason is the absence of pain as there are no nerve endings in the lungs.
Main diagnostics methods are radiography and sputum cytology or bronchus lavage (this way abnormal cells can be identified). Computed tomography is used as an alternative to X-ray as a more informative study.
To assess the stage of the pathological process and determine the histological forms of cancer, bronchoscopy with biopsy is normally used. It is the most informative method for the central cancer diagnosis because small bronchi are not available for the introduction of a bronchoscope.
Other diagnostic methods include:
- Trans-thoracic aspiration needle biopsy (the needle is inserted through a puncture in the body)
- Diagnostic thoracotomy (a surgery with penetration into the chest cavity is performed when it is impossible to establish the diagnosis by other means)
- Mediastinoscopy is an invasive diagnostic method allowing to assess the state of the lymph nodes
- Biopsy of the neck and cervical lymph nodes can be performed within the framework of mediastinoscopy for staging of the pathological process and histological forms of cancer
Treatment of Lung cancer abroad
Only 20% of patients are curable with the help of surgery, including patients with late diagnosis. The others are contraindicated surgery due to one of the reasons:
- Unresectable tumor
- Presence of distant metastases, which make the operation pointless
- Presence of contraindications for surgery (cardiac or respiratory failure, decompensation of other diseases of internal organs)
The amount of surgery depends on the stage of the pathological process, tumour growth form, its size, presence and location of metastases. Following parts can be removed in the course of surgery:
- Lunglobe - lobectomy:
- Two lobes of the right lung - bilobectomy
- Thewholelung - pneumonectomy
Simultaneously, the regional lymph nodes, parts of the chest wall, blood vessels, pericardium pieces, diaphragm, trachea, oesophagus, and other tissues, which are germinated by the tumour, can be removed if necessary.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can slow the malformation’s growth down and reduce its size making the patient’s life easier. But these techniques are additional. If they are applied without any surgery, there will be no influence on the patient’s survival.
The latest (innovative) treatment and diagnostics methods of Lung cancer abroad
Parallel with the main treatment methods, new therapeutic techniques are introduced and they will help to lengthen the patients’ lives.
Dendritic cellsis an immunotherapy method. Dendritic cells are prepared from blood or bone marrow. Then cultured and injected subcutaneously so that the patient's immune system begins to fight the tumour.
The main advantages of the treatment of lung cancer with the help of dendritic cells:
- Higher efficiency in comparison with radiation and chemotherapy
- Better tolerability
- Treatment on an outpatient basis
Targeted therapy presupposes the use of drugs that can selectively affect tumourtissue, without affecting the healthy cells, including those that divide quickly. Only in 2016 two new drugs for targeted therapy of lung cancer appeared. Targeted therapy is significantly superior than chemotherapy, and thus is better tolerated.
Lung cancer - Prognosis
Lung cancer is a highly dangerous illness with a negative prognosis. Five year survival is only about a 10% chance . Almost 80% of patients die within a year after the diagnosis was established.
The survival depends on the stage of cancer when it was diagnosed. In case of early diagnosis and surgery the prognosis is conditionally positive and the patient has a 70% chance of surviving for the next five years.
If the surgical treatment is not performed the five year survival is about 5%. It depends on the number of factors such as the location of the tumourfirst of all (prognosis is better if it’s a peripheral lung cancer, not the central) and its histological form.
Here you can find the cost of treatment for this disease at the German University Hospitals. Leave a request and we will provide a free consultation with a doctor and will start organizing the whole treatment process.
The program includes the following:
- Issuing of an invitation for getting a visa for treatment as quick as possible
- Fixing an appointment at a time convenient for you
- Preliminary organization of a comprehensive examination and discussion of the forthcoming treatment plan
- Arranging transfer from the airport to the hospital and back to the airport
- Provision of interpreting services and services of a personal medical coordinator
- If necessary, assistance in the organization of further surgical treatment
- Provision of a medical insurance against treatment complications covering up to 200,000 euro
- Preparation and translation of medical records and recommendations from the hospital
- Assistance in the subsequent communication with your attending physician, including consultations on repeated X-ray images through the unique medical document management system E-doc