New Lung Cancer Protocols Amid Pandemic (VIDEO)

A lung surgeon and oncologist are creating new protocols for treating lung cancer patients after treating 54-year-old Albert Khoury.

Albert Khoury, 54, is six months after a lung transplant.

Its operation is rare. Doctors diagnosed him with stage four lung cancer early in the pandemic.

Northwestern Medicine in Chicago shared this video with us.

“They’ve never done it before because the cancer usually spreads all over the body, the bones, the brain, the stomach, and they don’t want to waste their lungs on the person who’s not lucky enough to live,” Khoury said.

Surgeons were able to operate because the cancer had not spread beyond Khoury’s lungs.

Now, his lung surgeon and oncologist are creating a new set of protocols to treat lung cancer patients and launching a clinical registry to track their progress over time.

Doctors expect more patients like Khoury.

Research has shown that cancer screenings slow down when there are waves of COVID.

“Individuals were less likely to visit facilities and interact with individuals during a pandemic,” Dr. Albert Rizzo said. “And many lung cancer screening sites were also closing for a period of time for the same reasons. By the time symptoms of lung cancer develop, it often means it is more advanced and therefore less likely to develop. to be cured.”

Overall, the number of lung transplants is also increasing. Data from the United Network for Organ Sharing, also known as UNOS, shows that about 1 in 10 lung transplants were for severely damaged patients after recovering from COVID-19.

In 2022, those waiting on the UNOS lung waiting list increased from 48 new patients waiting in the first week of January to 86 new additions last week.

Khoury’s surgeon, Dr. Ankit Bharat, expected it.

“As the indications for transplants increase and the need increases, we clearly recognize that there is a mismatch between supply and demand,” he said.

Newsy spoke with him as hospitals across the country were just beginning double lung transplants for COVID patients. By then he had done 20.

“As a whole nation, we perform around 2,500 lung transplants every year. The need is at least 15-20% more,” Bharat continued.

As for Khoury, he is recovering slowly and doctors say he will be on immunosuppressants all his life.

But he says he’s ready to live it. His message: “For everyone who has cancer…Stay strong, fight and don’t stop. Everything turned out well,” Khoury said.

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