Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in Australia. In 2020, more than 13,000 patients were newly diagnosed with ‘primary’ lung cancer, due to malignant cells that originated from the lung.1 There are broadly two types of primary lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer, and small cell lung cancer. Other types of cancers can also travel, or ‘metastasize’, to the lungs, but these are considered ‘secondary’ lung cancers.
Risk factors for primary lung cancers include lifestyle factors such as smoking, environmental factors such as exposure to pollution, genetic factors such as a family history of lung cancers, and aging.
Symptoms of lung cancer can include coughing up blood, chest pain, chronic cough, change in voice, weight loss, and loss of appetite. However, many patients can be diagnosed with lung cancer without any symptoms, especially if they’re identified incidentally through imaging or as a result of screening by CT scans of the chest.
Treatment of lung cancer depends on a number of factors related to the individual patient, including the extensiveness or ‘staging’ of the lung cancer, lung function capacity, presence of other medical conditions, and expertise and experience of the surgeon. Other non-surgical treatment options for lung cancer include radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy, which may be prescribed in conjunction with, or instead of, surgery. Associate Professor Christopher Cao works with leading lung cancer oncologists in Sydney and regional NSW to offer a comprehensive service with the aim of maximizing survival and quality-of-life.
Associate Professor Christopher Cao specializes in minimally invasive robotic lung operations, being the first Australian surgeon to attend an international robotic thoracic surgical Fellowship, which was completed in the oldest and largest private cancer centre in the world, MSKCC2 in New York City. Since his return to Sydney, he has performed the largest number of robotic thoracic operations in Australasia. He is the first author in the largest robotic lung cancer study to date, with publications in the top three international journals.3-5