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Diagnosis is an inferential process, carried out from a “clinical picture” or risk factors, in a particular patient aimed at defining the disease that affects that patient; searches through radiological images, blood laboratories or with the findings through physical examinations, to reach the causal etiology of the patient’s condition.

Target: People over 30

How frequent is lung cancer?

Lung cancer is one of the most frequent tumors and the one that causes the highest mortality in the developed world. The global incidence is 22.5 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants, in Colombia for the year 2018 according to data from Globocan, 5,856 new cases of lung cancer were diagnosed, representing 5.7% of all diagnosed neoplasms.

What factors increase the risk of developing lung cancer?

Tobacco smoke is the most important risk factor for the development of lung cancer. Smokers have a 15 to 25 times higher risk of developing lung cancer than non-smokers. In the same way, passive exposure to tobacco smoke increases the risk of developing cancer between 20 and 30% compared to the unexposed population.

Tobacco smoke contains a multitude of carcinogenic or pro-carcinogenic agents that are responsible for mutations in genes that regulate cell growth. Quitting smoking produces a gradual decrease in the risk of lung cancer. After 15 years of abstinence, the risk of developing cancer approaches that of the non-smoking population, although it does not reach it. Occupational exposure to tar, soot, arsenic, chromium and nickel and, above all, to asbestos, increases the risk of its development, as does exposure to ionizing radiation.

Other risk factors for lung cancer are a diet low in fruits and vegetables, the presence of chronic obstructive disease and pneumoconiosis.

How should the diagnosis be made?

Lung cancer is suspected after the appearance of a compatible radiological image in a usually symptomatic patient. The diagnostic scheme must pursue the use of the most profitable procedure for diagnosis and staging, as well as avoiding annoying, potentially harmful or unnecessary tests.

Blood biomarker tests for lung cancer have recently been studied and developed, such as the EARLy CDT, which is a simple blood test, where 7 proteins, known as autoantibodies, related to the presence of lung cancer are measured . The levels of these autoantibodies can increase early in the development of cancer, and therefore facilitate its detection, even before symptoms appear.