Addressing the Current Challenges in Lung Cancer CareAugust 5, 2022
In this video, Karen Kelly, MD, CEO of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), outlines current challenges in lung cancer care, and what the IASLC can do to help. Kelly also is professor emeritus at the University of California Davis in Sacramento.
The following is a transcript of her remarks:
This is an amazing time for our patients having to deal with lung cancer, because of all of the impactful new advances that have been made over the recent years. And so I think that we will see lung cancer mortality decreasing, we know it has started to decline, but we’re excited to see it decline even more due to these advances.
But what is problematic, where I think the challenges lie, are the implementation and access of these new advances. So along the lines of [lung cancer] CT screening, access to CT screening, physical infrastructure typically at a fixed site is really how it is working currently, but we are moving to having more flexibility in terms of mobile units and so that to me is one of our biggest challenges, how we get these CT screening programs implemented. How I think the IASLC could help is by developing best practices across the institutions, as well as helping institutions who want to have a screening program; I think we could add value in helping them create that program.
I would say that — even if you take what seems to be simple, but is not — is really just knowing who are the eligible patients. Even in my own institution, it can be challenging to know who meet these criteria for CT screening. So there is a lot of work to be done on the infrastructure, we have to, I think, expand. It’s complicated, but we have to expand and make sure that we’re integrating these additional components.
I think from the research perspective, it is still challenging in terms of the increased administrative burden that we’re seeing with research, and that’s not only on the clinical side. In my own field of clinical research and doing clinical trials, there’s just been exponential regulatory burden on these clinical trials, and that can be discouraging in particular for young researchers when they’re working so hard just to get a trial open.
So learning how we can help our researchers, that’s really the future, particularly when we talk about our young researchers and wanting them to have a career — a lifelong career — in helping us to achieve our mission, that’s very important.
These are challenging; these issues that I raise are challenging, but I’m completely confident that we can do it. And the IASLC I think plays a pivotal role, you know, our members are top-notch researchers and clinicians, and it has to be a multidisciplinary approach to this.
And also, this approach that includes perhaps some nontraditional things that I think we need to start including. You know, technology is our friend, and we want to be able to leverage that. I mean, just leveraging telemedicine — and perhaps that is a silver lining of COVID — before COVID I never did any telemedicine. I didn’t even know how to do telemedicine, and now I’m an expert at telemedicine, and it’s really helped us.
I think there’s a lot of old traditions that now have been rethought to streamline medical research, cancer care that the silver lining of COVID has taught us, and I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to continue to move forward, and some of our archaic systems will be replaced by this more modern system.