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According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths around the world, claiming 1.3 million lives each year. Statistics show that nearly 60% of people die within one year of diagnosis. A new system that classifies many tumors as more treatable than in year’s past will provide thousands of lung cancer patients with new options.

The new guidelines, which will overhaul a decades-old staging method, are expected to be adopted within the next year. Among the changes expected: creating more sub-stages for tumor size, reassigning some large tumors to a more advanced stage, reclassifying tumors that have spread into the fluid surrounding the lung, and recognizing that spread of cancer to certain lymph nodes is more dangerous than its spread to others.

According to Dr. Joan Schiller, a lung cancer specialist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas:

“By changing some of these groupings, some patients will get moved to an earlier stage of disease for which we tend to be more aggressive in treatment. Before, a patient may have only been offered chemotherapy. They may now be offered chemotherapy and radiation, or more intense radiation.”

“Revising the staging system will do little good if doctors don’t do the right tests to properly stage a tumor,” said Dr. Len Lictenfeld, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society. “Staging for lung and other types of cancer should become even more precise in the near future as biomarkers and gene tests are developed to better sort patients,” he added.

Currently, the law firm of Alley, Clark, Greiwe & Fulmer is pursuing hundreds of lawsuits for persons throughout the State of Florida who have been harmed by tobacco, including many who have suffered from or died from lung cancer. The Florida Supreme Court’s decision in the Engle tobacco class action for Florida smokers found that lung cancer and more than a dozen other cancers and diseases were caused by smoking and have injured plaintiffs who were defrauded by false and deceptive claims by cigarette manufacturers many years ago before health risks were widely known.

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