In European and Western countries the main causes of lung cancer are cigarette smoking and air pollution, two factors in which both doctors and legislators are often involved in prevention and early diagnosis with the aim of reducing the incidence and mortality caused by this disease.

Professor Marco Alloisio, director of the Operative Unit of Thoracic Surgery of Humanitas, and Dr. Giulia Veronesi, Head of Humanitas of the Robotic Surgery Section, talked about it in an interview.

“In recent years the incidence and new cases of lung cancer are increasing because the average age has increased and also because the diagnoses are increasingly refined and early – explained Alloisio – despite this, mortality is decreasing: we are optimistic because we know much more about tumors in particular, about what affects the lung.

SMAC (Smokers Health Multiple Action): a few steps for early diagnosis

Humanitas experts have developed a course dedicated to the early diagnosis and prevention of lung cancer and lung diseases in general: it is SMAC (Smokers Health Multiple Action) and consists of a questionnaire and a meeting with the patient, to learn about his habits, a tacit chest, a spirometry and in case of need meetings with psychologists of the Center Anti-smoking Humanitas.

The SMAC screening program is aimed at men and women over 55 years of age, who tend to be heavy smokers or ex-smokers who have smoked over 20 cigarettes a day for many years at least up to 15 years before.

Innovation and technology at the service of patients

Non-invasive tests and analyses aimed at “early detection of lung cancer – explained Dr. Veronesi illustrating the steps and steps of Smac – it is important to find any early stage lung lesions because they facilitate treatment and prognosis.

The SMAC program consists of “a low-dose chest CT scan, which has a very high sensitivity that can detect small lung nodules, a spirometry that quantifies the functional damage of the respiratory system and an anti-smoking activity for primary prevention,” which also includes consultation with psychologists at the Center for Anti-smoking Humanitas.

“The innovative thing about the program is that all the images analyzed are sent to a computer that develops an automatic system of diagnosis of lung nodules, distinguishing those benign or malignant, giving us the prognosis and using the techniques of Artificial Intelligence.

Having such a precise and timely diagnosis allows to identify very small tumors, at the initial stage, which can then be treated with a minimally invasive surgery through the use of robots and personalized; these techniques allow to save most of the healthy lung, to have a rapid functional recovery and therefore a quick discharge for the patient, as well as avoid painful operations.