In working with lung cancer patients daily, there has been a major transformation in how people are now living with, and surviving, the disease. Science has advanced to where clinicians can often prescribe treatments that target a patient’s specific genomic mutation that is driving their cancer, which often results in improved outcomes and quality of life – truly personalized medicine.
Today’s deeper understanding of the multitude of biomarkers that drive some lung cancers — with names like ALK, EGFR, ROS-1, and BRAF — has enabled scientists to develop life-changing treatments. Since 2015, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved more than 15 lung cancer treatments, the majority of which are biomarker-driven.
For those with an actionable biomarker, typically people with adenocarcinoma, a type of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the positive impact can be substantial. We’ve seen this through the patients at our survivorship summits, many whom continue doing the things they love, including being a parent, working, exercising, and traveling, even while being treated for stage IV lung cancer.
Lung cancer is at the forefront of precision medicine, yet far too many patients have not had the benefit of biomarker testing of their tumor tissue. We encourage all people newly diagnosed with NSCLC to ask their doctor to test their tumor tissue for biomarkers with technologies such as next generation sequencing, an advanced precision diagnostic that offers a comprehensive profile of the tumor, testing for many biomarkers at the same time with limited amounts of tumor required.
For both newly diagnosed and long-term survivors and their caregivers, LUNGevity is here to support you and help you learn more about living with lung cancer.