Around 22,000 new cases of lung cancer are recorded every year in Vietnam, where the disease is ranked among the top causes of death, doctors said at a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday.
Doctors and medical experts gathered at the seminar on the application of targeted therapy in improving survival for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients hosted by the Oncology Hospital.
According to figures presented by doctors at the event, around 22,000 Vietnamese people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year, while 19,500 die yearly from the disease.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of death among Vietnamese males, and the second-most common cause of cancer-related fatalities among females, doctors said.
Over 34,000 people, men and women, in Vietnam are forecast to come down with the disease each year by 2020.
According to Vu Van Vu, head of the first internal ward at the Ho Chi Minh City Oncology Hospital, NSCLC accounts for 85 percent of all cases of lung cancer, with the majority of patients only diagnosed at a late stage when distant metastases have developed.
The rate of survival for these patients is extremely low, with less than five percent of NSCLC patients able to survive for five years or more since diagnosis.
Over the past ten years, targeted therapy has drastically improved treatment for NSCLC patients in Vietnam compared to traditional chemotherapy, doctors said at the seminar.
Targeted therapy is treatment using drugs that target gene changes in cells that cause cancer while doing less damage to normal, healthy cells, according to the American Cancer Society.