Lung cancer is a unique type of malignant process in terms of the etiology – 85-90% of its cases are connected with the nicotine dependence and cigarette smoking. This is the only oncological process with totally avoidable causative agent. Nevertheless, lung cancer steadily stays among widespread cancer types with the high mortality rate.
Lung cancer can arise in non-smokers as well. These are mainly people who have abandoned this habit, passive smokers (people who inhale second-hand smoke) and people who are exposed to radon, asbestos and vinyl chloride due to their professional occupation.
Measures for the early detection of the pathology are implemented worldwide. These are regular check-ups and fluorography (the X-ray examination with low radiation exposure). New methods of treatment are underway. Last decades gave medical society innovative options of drug therapy (namely, biological therapy) and precise surgical techniques (like VATS and robotic surgery).
Types of lung cancer
Lung carcinomas can grow from large and small bronchi, alveolar tissue or pleura (external lining of lungs and the thoracic cavity). Despite the origin, all tumors are divided into non‐small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small‐cell lung cancer (SCLC). The distinction of these two cancer types is essential for medical treatment planning, as they are basically different in clinical course and prognosis.
NSCLC is more common, it is diagnosed in 80% of cases. NSCLC neoplasms include adenocarcinomas, bronchioalveolar, squamous cell, and large cell neoplasms. SCLC usually has a neuroendocrine origin. Neuroendocrine tumors are characterized by more severe clinical manifestations, like cough with bloody sputum and breathlessness. Other symptoms may include general weakness, hoarseness, nausea, chest pain, and signs of superior vena cava obstruction (swollen neck and face, headaches, disturbances of vision). Early stages of lung malignancies are usually asymptomatic.
Lung cancer may also be caused by metastases of other malignant tumors. This is metastatic or secondary lung cancer. Sarcomas, melanomas, stomach, and intestine malignant tumors are the most expectable sources of lung metastases.
General approaches to lung cancer treatment
Based on the results of the preliminary examination (laboratory tests, MRI / CT scan, PET-CT, osteoscintigraphy), one or few treatment options may be selected among:
- Surgical treatment.
- Radiation therapy.
- Targeted therapy.
Surgical treatment is the most effective at the early disease stages when the tumor is small and can be removed completely. Surgery is the best option in the absence of metastases and lymphatic nodes affection. Radiosurgery is a less invasive type of intervention that does not require thorax opening. At first, special fiducial that is perfectly seen on the MRI /CT scans will be placed in the tumor. Next, the tumor will be destroyed by the directed at the fiducial irradiation.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are mostly used to shrink the neoplasm before the surgery / in inoperable cases, and reduce the relapse risks. Also, these techniques reduce cancer complications rates.
Targeted therapy is a type of drug therapy that specifically affects atypical cells, preserving the normal state of the healthy tissues. Some types of targeted therapy block growth of the tumor blood vessel, depriving it from essential nutrients. Other ones affect cells with EGFR changes, ALK and BRAF genes mutations (these are typical for lung cancer).
Complementary medicine includes additional medical techniques that alleviate symptoms, help a patient to relax, improve his emotional state and general fitness. Doctors may administer massage, acupuncture, hypnosis sessions, yoga training, etc.
Alternative medicine is a number of treatment options that are not approved by official medicine, but are believed to provide patient with additional benefits and even replace traditional therapy. Alternative medicine includes using herbal supplements, vitamins, special diets. Complementary and alternative medicine are not in the list of evidence-based treatments, thus their pros and cons should be discussed with the treating physician.
Comprehensive lung cancer treatment in Germany
Results of lung cancer treatment and survival rates differ depending on the country and level of the hospital. This may seem surprising, but recently approved by FDA techniques are available only in the limited number of developed countries. It is due to their high costs and technical complexity.
Due to high state investments in the development of medical sphere, Germany constantly takes leading positions in lung cancer treatment. Therapy of the respiratory system oncology in Germany has few significant benefits:
- High precision of surgical interventions. Using intraoperative microscopy allows doctor searching for the tiniest oncological changes of tissues during the surgery.
- Diminishing healthy tissues trauma and facilitating the recovery with the help of video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS), a sparing endoscopic approach.
- Emergency help in case of life threatening pulmonary hemorrhage with the help of selective embolization of bleeding vessels. Vessels of the tumor can be embolized as well, making the tumor shrink.
- Using the linear accelerators with a 3-dimensional planning system for radiation therapy with minimal side effects. Particularly, volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) is applied. This is a new type of intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). During the procedure the linear accelerator is rotating around the person and the intensity of the radiation beam is changing according to the preliminary elaborated program.
- Targeted therapy with all available on the pharmaceutical market drugs is possible in Germany.
In addition, German specialists pay attention to recovery after treatment course – rehabilitation program. Rehabilitation is of great importance as it restores the respiratory function and improves general fitness. If necessary, program includes sessions with the psychotherapist.
Cost of treatment and arrangement of therapy
Lung cancer treatment in Germany gives the possibility to use benefits of all existing treatments. In some cases conventional surgery will give the best possible result. In other cases more complex approach is required, including innovative drug therapy combined with video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS).
Cost of treatment will depend on the selected procedure. For instance:
- chemotherapy starts from 5,050 €,
- radiation therapy – from 14,000 €,
- surgery – from 17,400 €,
- rehabilitation – from 670 € per day.
If you want to receive more details regarding the most effective treatment option for your case and exact price of undergoing therapy abroad, you should contact Booking Health. Booking Health is the only company with international quality control certificate ISO 9001:2015 in the field of medical tourism. We help patients with lung cancer from 75 countries to undergo desirable treatment and further rehabilitation.
Booking Health takes care about all aspects of treatment abroad, from choosing the most suitable hospital and doctor exactly for your case to receiving visa and preparing the necessary medical documents. Our doctors assist you in medical aspects, and our coordinators support you 24/7 while staying at Germany. Should you live the request with basic medical information on the official Booking Health website, our specialists will contact you the same day and suggest best treatment program for the affordable price.