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Battling lung cancer

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http://www1.whdh.com/features/articles/ ... t/BOS9935/

Air Date: 11/29/2005

Reported by: Dr. Deanna Lites

Producer: Lee McLaughlin

Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer death in America. News Anchor Peter Jennings, a smoker, lost his life to it earlier this year. But experts say there's hope on the horizon when battling this disease. 7Healthcast Reporter Dr. Deanna Lites has more.

Two years ago Joan Shoop learned she had lung cancer. She had no family history of cancer, but she smoked for nearly thirty years. Joan says, "I have no doubt that cigarette smoking contributed to my lung cancer."

But even non-smokers, like Dana Reeve can get lung cancer. Oncologist Dr. Tarek Mekhail says, "These two types of lung cancers 'never smokers' as opposed to people who smoke appear to be different diseases and in the future we think that we'll be treating them differently."

As for preventing it, doctors say changing your diet could help.

"It turns out that people who eat a lot of soybeans, carrots, broccoli products that are rich in phytoestrogens actually have a lesser chance of developing lung cancer," explains Dr. Mekhail.

Studies show chemotherapy and radiation after surgery can better your chance of preventing recurrence. But the future includes targeted therapies that go after specific cancer cells.

Dr. Mekhail says, "Instead of going to the cancer cells and killing it how about if we develop a drug that cuts the blood supply."

One drug, Avastin, does just that. It's proven effective with colon and breast cancer, and it's showing promise with lung cancer too.

Some of the symptoms of lung cancer include a persistent cough, shortness of breath, fatigue and weight loss. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms don't put off seeing your doctor.

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