Ft. Wayne Medical Oncology & Hematology
Dr. Ahad Sadiq discusses Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is the leading cause of deaths among both men and women, resulting in more deaths each year than colon, breast and prostate cancer combined. Indiana is one of 12 states with the highest lung cancer rates in the United States. Every year on average, more than 5,000 people in Indiana are diagnosed with lung cancer and more than 4,000 people die from the disease. Despite these statistics, there is some good news, as exciting cancer research is taking place right here in Fort Wayne.
"We have very strong evidence where smoking is very strongly related to the cause of lung cancer," says Dr. Ahad Sadiq with Fort Wayne Medical Oncology. "In Indiana if you look at the average of smoking people in the state, it's almost 22 to 23 percent compared to 17 percent of what the national average is," says Dr. Sadiq.
Dr. Sadiq says when it comes to lung cancer, prevention is the best cure, as smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. "If you look at people who have smoked heavily all their life, their chance of getting lung cancer in their lifetime is 30 percent and people who have never smoked, their chance of still getting lung cancer is one percent," says Dr. Sadiq. "People still get lung cancer who have never touched a cigarette, but we are talking about a 30 percent chance during their lifetime versus one percent."
Barack Obama signed the 21st Century Cures act in 2016 which provide some $2 million for cancer research. Locally, Fort Wayne is focused on curing lung cancer, working closely with the University of Chicago as well as the University of California in Los Angeles in the growing area of Immuno-Oncology.
"What we doctors have been trying to figure out is how can we make a person's own immune system make the cancer visible to them," says Dr. Sadiq. "So what exactly we have done is that there have been these new Immuno-Therapy agents which actually take away that hiding mechanism from those cancer cells and make those cancers visible to those immune system and then your immune system suddenly sees that, 'hey this is a real cancer cell, it's time for me to kill that cancer cell'."
Opdivo was approved in March of 2015 by the FDA for aid in the treatment of lung cancer, which helps the body's immune system fight cancer cells with far less side effects than chemotherapy.
"The side effects are minimal," says Dr. Sadiq. "Yes, there are some cases where the immune system gets too revved up and then it can start attacking your own normal body, but compared to your old general chemotherapy that we have been using for the last ten to 15 years, these drugs are a lot safer and a lot easier for the patients to handle," says Dr. Sadiq.
The broadcast interview was accompanied by an online news story. The station has a 27,593 viewership in the Fort Wayne region.