How would you react if you or someone you know is diagnosed with lung cancer? I’ll let you brew that thought on your mind for a moment.
Just in case you didn’t know, a lot of Filipinos dispelled seemingly harmless signs and symptoms like coughs, colds, or body aches at an early stage. These are actually tell-tale signs that you are suffering something serious, especially if these have been present for weeks or months.
Pursuing the advice of the doctor is usually the last on their minds because of financial and time constraints.
So let’s go back to the question I asked you earlier. How would react to the big ”C?” To help you cope with the challenges that it brings, Hope From Within has a 3-step suggestion for all of us.
Battling Lung Cancer: Step 1 – Test
”An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
This was a famous maxim that gained a new perspective from TV and media personality Diego Castro. His father, the famous broadcast anchor Angelo Castro Jr., passed away in 2012 after succumbing to lung cancer. Before he was diagnosed in 2008, he had been suffering with persistent cough and initially underwent alternative treatments. He later decided to go for chemotherapy but the disease has already reached the highest stage.
Angelo Castro Jr. received medical care for about two years. It took a toll on him and his family. Diego can vividly remember what they went through.
Since the demise of his father, Diego has noticed that more advancement in treatment options for cancer is already available. He admits that this gives him a feeling of regret and missed opportunities, but lending his voice to Hope From Within gave him a chance to ensure that his father’s death was not in vain because it encourages Filipinos to be proactive in battling cancer through early detection and treatment.
“Hope From Within” is a movement that symbolizes the optimism that novel treatments like
immunotherapy bring to cancer patients, and the latest in its series of ongoing educational and informational forums focuses on the importance of early detection for malignancy.
The first step against cancer is Test. High risk individuals like smokers should be screened with these diagnostic tests:
- low-dose CT scan of the chest
- If you prefer to undergo immunotherapy, presence of cell protein PD-L1 (programmed death ligand) in tissue or body fluids, mutations in EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor), and ALK (anaplastic lymphoma kinase) gene changes will be screened.
The earlier the disease is detected, the earlier it can be treated. One of the latest treatments for cancer is immunotherapy and I’ll explain a bit about it later.
According to a Facebook post from Hope From Within, these are the early symptoms of lung cancer:
- chest pains
- hoarseness or shortness of breath
- persistent pneumonia and bronchitis
- loss of weight and appetite are possible indicators of lung cancer
Battling Lung Cancer: Step 2 – Talk
The second step includes:
- in-depth and constant discussion with the health care team
- talking about your condition, treatment, and recuperation with your immediate family
Battling Lung Cancer: Step 3 – Take Action
The final step involves:
- undergoing treatment procedures
- implementing lifestyle changes
- gathering aid or assistance from support groups
A New Light Shines on Lung Cancer: Immunotherapy
As promised, I’ll share a bit about immunotherapy and its benefits.
”Immunotherapy involves fortifying the body’s natural healthy cells to avoid being overridden by malignant cells, and thus preventing the latter from multiplying. In many clinical studies all over the world, it has been proven to add more years of survival to cancer patients. As opposed to traditional standard-of- care treatment such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy presents less or little side effects. In many countries all over the world, immunotherapy drugs have already been successfully in use to treat various types of cancers.”
Earlier, I included what pathology samples should be taken when you opt for immunotherapy. Here are the corresponding drugs that can be administered depending on the results of your pathology testing:
- Presence of cell protein PD-L1 (programmed death ligand) in tissue or body fluids – immune checkpoint inhibitors such as nivolumab, atezolizumab or pembrolizumab may be administered.
- Mutations in EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) – EGFR targeted therapies such as afatinib, erlotinib, or gefitinib
- ALK (anaplastic lymphoma kinase) gene changes – treatment with drugs that target the ALK protein such as crizotinib.
“In order to benefit from the innovation of immunotherapy particularly for certain types of
advanced lung cancer, it is important that it is administered as early as possible upon the onset of the disease. That is why we are urging people to ‘Test, Talk and Take Action.’” Dr. Ivy de Dios, oncology medical adviser of MSD in the Philippines.
My Thoughts About Lung Cancer and Hope From Within’s Test, Talk, and Take Action
Even before I became a nurse, the value of prevention and early detection was already instilled to me. We were taught about it in elementary school. That value was reinforced when I was in high school then reinforced once again in college. This year, it gained a whole new meaning to me because one of my parents was diagnosed with a certain type of cancer. Thank God it was detected. My parent just came out of the hospital last week after a second operation and we are all looking forward to a great recovery.
For some, being diagnosed with the big ”C” is not the end of the world. We can implement Hope From Within’s Test, Talk, and Take Action. Personally, it is a well-rounded and great movement. But for those who are in the very late stages of the disease, all we can do is give the patient our love and support.
Support Hope From Within‘s cause by following them on Facebook.
How about you? What do you think about Hope From Within’s advocacy? Are you happy that more treatment options are now available for people with lung cancer or other types of cancer?