Friday School 9/10 – COPD, Screening and Disparities in Lung Cancer, and NTM Lung Infections

We had an amazing lineup of lecturers for our final PCCM Friday School!

To start off the afternoon, Dr. Erica Lin reviewed COPD. She taught us an awesome trick for remembering the mMRC dyspnea scale: one vertical line for grade 1 (difficulty walking up a hill), two vertical lines for grade 2 (slower than other people), three horizontal lines for grade 3 (short of breath after 100 meters), and a square for grade 4 (short of breath inside the four walls of your home).

You can download a copy of her slides here:

Dr. Luda Bazhenova, UCSD’s hem/onc program director and pulmonary oncologist, then went through an excellent review of lung cancer from epidemiology to treatment.

Lung Cancer Pearls:

  • If there are multiple sites of metastases, avoid getting a bone biopsy, because molecular testing is more challenging on bone than soft tissue.
  • Stage IV NSCLC is not in itself an indication for hospice, and neither is age!
  • 95% of small cell lung cancer cases are associated with smoking.

You can download a copy of her slides here:

We were then joined by Dr. Wael Elmaraachli for a review of NTM lung infections. He highlighted the importance of confirming and working up a patient for NTM prior to initiating treatment and that generally, the treatment does not need to be initiated urgently. He also highlighted that the prevalence of NTM lung infection is increasing!

For the last hour of Friday School, we were joined by Dr. Mark Fuster and Dr. Brinda Desai, who walked us through an amazing discussion of disparities in lung cancer screening. Although the new guidelines now encompass a larger group of people, there are still a lot of gaps in screening. Additional research and advocacy is needed to improve equitable care.

Thank you so much to all of our amazing lecturers today!

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