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Science AMA Series: I’m Dr. Gerard A. Silvestri, an expert in lung cancer, interventional pulmonology, and President of the American College of Chest Physicians, and I would love to share the barriers and the diagnosis of treatments in lung cancer. AMA!
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My name is Dr. Gerard A. Silvestri. I’m an international expert in lung cancer and interventional pulmonology. I am the President of the American College of Chest Physicians, the George Sr. and Margaret Hillenbrand Professor of Thoracic Oncology, and Vice-Chair of Medicine for faculty development at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. I am a writer and editor of the American College of Chest Physicians lung cancer guidelines; I’ve authored more than 200 scientific articles, book chapters, and editorials; and have had the opportunity to serve on multiple editorial boards of medical journals, including the journal CHEST®. My passion to find new treatments and create guidelines for lung cancer is truly to help inform the public on a disease that takes the lives of many annually and assist in any way I can. Lung cancer, the second most common cancer in both men and women, is responsible for nearly one in five cancer deaths annually. There are many factors we come across daily that can cause lung cancer, including: air pollution, exposure to radon, aging, history of cancer in other parts of the body, secondhand smoke, and air pollution, and lung cancer can even run in families. While smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer, as it accounts for 80% to 85% of all lung cancer cases, we need to change the viewpoint that lung cancer is something that patients bring onto themselves. There are several factors that play into lung cancer, and many patients who receive this diagnosis are, in fact, nonsmokers. There are two types of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) represents 80% to 90% of all lung cancer cases each year, while small cell lung cancer (SCLC) accounts for 10% to 20% of cases and tends to grow more quickly than NSCLC. Due to the various types of the disease, there is no one-size-fits-all method to treating lung cancer. Different types of lung cancer often behave differently in the body, and treatment decisions are normally based on the patient, the type of cancer they have, and what is known as the stage of cancer. I’d love to share information about the barriers and the diagnosis and treatments in lung cancer and hope I can leave you with some insight on the disease and future advancements to come. I will be back at 1 pm ET to answer your questions, ask me anything!