Lung cancer patients in primary health care
Julkaistu 15.06.2012 00.01
Lung cancer is a common and lethal cancer mainly caused by cigarette smoking. The incidence of lung cancer has not decreased during the last few years and is going to rise due to the increase in female smoking. The prognosis of lung cancer is poor with 5-year survival rates of 8% nad 12 % in males and females, respectively. The only possibly curative treatment is surgery. However, less than 20% of patients are able to undergo surgery and the majority of patients are beyond curative treatment. The main reason for this is advanced disease stage at diagnosis. Specialist health care is responsible for the oncology treatments. Involvement of primary health care physicians in the care of lung cancer patients is important at the different stages of cancer. The suspicion of cancer usually arises in primary health care. Lung cancer patients are usually lifelong smokers and they are elderly (mean age 68 years). Thus they have often other health issues besides lung cancer. Lung cancer patients are mostly symptomatic and their condition may worsen within a short period of time. Smooth communication concerning oncology treatments, palliative care, and end of life care is needed to facilitate the shared care.
M.D., Ph.D., Specialist in Pulmonary Diseases
Helsinki University Central Hospital, Department of Pulmonary Diseases
University of Helsinki, Department of Medicine
M.D., General Practitioner
City of Espoo, Leppävaara Health Centre
Finnish Medical Journal 2012;67: 1905–10.
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