According to a new study, lung cancer patients undergoing endosonography evaluation before surgery have improved quality of life after the cancer staging process. The results of the study were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in November 2010. They were also discussed during the 14th World Conference on Lung Cancer, which took place in Amsterdam. The event was carried out by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC).
Dr. Robert Rintoul, from Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, United Kingdom, and the lead author of the study, said "Given that assessment of lymph glands using the endoscopic approach was more effective, better tolerated by patients and no more expensive than the surgical approaches, we recommend that investigation should commence with the endoscopic tests, reserving the surgical tests as a backup if the endoscopic approaches do not show any evidence of cancer," adding "We anticipate that this data will change the way in which the mediastinum is assessed in the future."
Dr. Rintoul said that it is critical to check if lung cancer has started spreading to nearby organs, such as the lymph nodes of the chest, before surgical interference. Cancer spreading means that surgical removal of the tumor may not be the best option. New procedures, such as endobronchial and endoscopic ultrasound, have been developed to explore the lymph nodes of the chest without surgical intervention. Such procedures are now substituting the previously carried out surgical exploratory operations.
The study included comparing between endosonography and surgical biopsy approaches. The research team reported that using endosonography while keeping mediastinoscopy as a backup was the best approach. Following the cancer staging procedures, patients who had endosonography mentioned that they had better quality of life.