Lung cancer is a common form of cancer and very serious disease. The greatest risk for developing lung cancer is smoking, though about ten percent of lung cancer patients never smoked. For these people, the diagnosis is often shocking given the association of the disease with smoking. The prognosis tends to be less positive than with other common cancers like breast and prostate. Lung cancer screening programs as an early detection method are gaining traction. There is also significant activity to try and improve outcomes in lung cancer. Research is progressing around the genetic markers involved with the disease to identify potential targets for personalized therapies. There is also greater knowledge around how the more common form, non-small cell (NSCLC) cancer behaves and implications for treatment. This translates into care options for patients.
There are a variety of ways lung cancer is treated. An oncologist's recommendation will be based on the degree of spread to other areas of the body along with the type of lung cancer. Patients with the non-small cell type, called NSCLC, may have more treatment options than those with the small cell variety which is primarily approached with chemotherapy and radiation. Depending on what the treating physician and affiliated cancer center can offer the patient, there may be interest in seeking a second opinion and learning about novel treatments being evaluated in clinical trials. Many but not all oncology practices have visibility into lung cancer research options. With the specifics of his or her case (stage, biomarkers, labs) in hand however, a patient can search online for recruiting trials and, by reading the eligibility criteria, understand if any appear to be a fit and worth looking into more closely.
It was not that long ago that chemotherapy was the main medical treatment for lung cancer. In recent years however, clinical research has helped usher in many new approaches that are helping to improve outcomes for patients. Immunotherapy that is far less toxic than chemotherapy is now a standard approach for some lung cancer types. This uses a patient's own immune system to kill cancer cells. In addition, newer targeted therapies based on the tumor's genetic make-up are also showing effectiveness in halting cancerous cell growth.
Lung cancer is a devastating diagnosis to receive. Clinical research may offer a patient access to treatment options not available at the nearby hospital or clinic. There are many trials recruiting for participants. Some trials may offer help with transportation if the distance is far. Curious about what lung cancer trials look like and how to learn more? Register here to receive updates about recruiting trials and research opportunities for lung cancer.
A variety of articles on topics of interest to those diagnosed with lung cancer.