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Lung Cancer Chemotherapy: Delay After Surgery Shows Benefit, Study Says

By Duna Bil , Jan 06, 2017 10:19 AM EST
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Patients suffering from a common form of lung cancer may benefit from delayed lung cancer chemotherapy after surgery, a team of Yale researchers found. The study was published online by JAMA Oncology yesterday.

Specifically, the research discovers that patients who had surgery to remove tumors in their lungs still show significant health improvement even after up to four months of delay in chemotherapy.

Previously, most physicians recommend chemotherapy within six weeks after surgery. However, in some cases, patients are not fit to undergo the therapy within the recommended time due to post-operative complications.

Oncologists previously believed that the delay can deteriorate the patient's ability to positively react to chemotherapy. The recent study proves otherwise, the News Medical says.

Furthermore, the study shows that non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC), one of the two major types of lung cancer, benefits in the delay by showing reduction in tumors and cancer in the lymph nodes.

According to Dr. Daniel J. Boffa, of the Yale School of Medicine, one of the authors of the study, they used data from patients in the National Cancer Database. They examined the relationship between the timing of postoperative chemotherapy and five-year mortality.

The study investigates 12,473 patients with stage I, II, or III cancer who underwent delayed lung cancer chemotherapy. The finding suggests that the initiation of chemotherapy between 57 and 127 days after surgery led to similar results as patients who started the therapy within six and nine weeks.

Furthermore, according to the Science Daily, delayed chemotherapy was found to lower the risk of deaths compared to those who do not get the treatment at all.

Each year, more patients die from lung cancer than from any other form of cancers combined including colon and breast cancer.

Despite stronger smoking cessation campaigns as reported earlier, majority of the population still smoke or are in the process of quitting. The addictive components of cigarettes and the changes it causes on decision making skills impact the decision of smokers to quit.

With the emergence of the study, oncologists now are better informed regarding the recommended time for lung cancer chemotherapy.

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