Monday, December 25, 2006
Medical Reports: Better Breathing
It's the leading killer among cancer patients. In fact, more people die of lung cancer than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. And patients who are diagnosed with it have just a 15 percent chance of surviving. But, as Richard Lemus shows us, a breakthrough test is now helping doctors in the fight against the disease.
WSVN -- More than anything in this world, Al Clever loves going to football games.
Al Clever:"I've been a fan since I was old enough to know what football was."
But this season, Al is watching the games from his couch. He's recovering after losing part of his lung to cancer.
Al Clever:"When they told me I had a spot there, it really floored me."
But now, oncologists and a team of doctors at Duke University Medical Center have developed a test that's giving lung cancer patients hope. It's the first ever genomic test called the Lung Metagene Predictor. It scans a tumor sample, containing thousands of genes and identity patterns of gene activity.
Dr. Anil Potty:"Each individual has a unique set of genes."
Here's how it works. Each column is a different patient with lung cancer. Each colored box is a specific gene. Doctors compare the genes and decide if the patient will need chemotherapy and which therapy will work best.
Dr. Anil Potty:"I am not just a doctor who treats lung cancer, I'm here to treat your lung cancer."
Doctors believe this test could increase the odds for all cancer patients.
Dr. Anil Potty: "This gives tremendous hope for those patients."
Al took the test, and it showed he did need chemo.
Al Clever:"The last two scans they've done on me have been negative."
Making him one step closer to his real goal: getting back to cheering on his favorite team in person.
The new tests are 90 percent accurate in determining which lung cancer patients will have relapse.
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