Exciting Lung Cancer Data and Studies: A Look At Neoadjuvant Treatment
Exciting Lung Cancer Data and Studies: A Look At Neoadjuvant Treatment from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.
What are new developments in lung cancer treatment? Dr. Lecia Sequist shares some new ways of sequencing treatments that have shown success, benefits of clinical trial participation, and advice for patients for empowered care.
Dr. Sequist is program director of Cancer Early Detection & Diagnostics at Massachusetts General Hospital and also The Landry Family Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
“…if surgery has been recommended to you for lung cancer, to ask if you should be getting any treatment before the surgery, because that’s what a lot of the newer studies are looking at.”
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All right, Dr. Sequist, we know that the abstracts for ASCO, which is coming up in a couple months, are not published yet, but what lung cancer data or studies are coming out of major medical conferences like ASCO or there is one coming up in Florida also, but what studies are coming out that you are the most excited about?
Dr. Lecia Sequist:
I think one of the areas that’s changing the most in lung cancer recently has to do with what’s called neoadjuvant treatment. And that just means treatment that’s given before a surgery. Historically, if a lung cancer was of a size, in a location where surgery was feasible, from a technical standpoint, it was often recommended. And sometimes the cancer might have spread to the lymph nodes or maybe it spread to another part of the body and surgery wasn’t able to be done. And it was kind of just a yes/no. Yes, we can do surgery or no, it doesn’t look like we can do surgery. And that line has gotten a little bit more blurry lately, because now multiple studies are coming out showing that you can actually give treatment like drug treatments such as chemotherapy and immune therapy before surgery is done. And sometimes that can really improve the outcome of the surgery or can improve the outcome for the patient of not having a cancer come back in the future.
And so now when someone’s newly diagnosed with lung cancer, it’s not so much just a yes no. Are we going to surgery? Yes or no? A lot of times it’s more complicated based on the newer data. Is surgery an option ever? Maybe we should try some drug treatment first and surgery might be something that we can do later. It really still depends on the…every patient has a unique situation so it’s hard to paint with a broad brush. But one of the areas that’s changing the most is around surgery, around who should have surgery and should they have treatments before or after the surgery that can help the surgery work better. So my activation tip for this question is that if surgery has been recommended to you for lung cancer, to ask if you should be getting any treatment before the surgery, because that’s what a lot of the newer studies are looking at.
And to ask if there’s any research studies that you can be part of. Because the way that these advances happen is research studies are done on patients that would like to participate in research. Participating in research, I think there’s a lot of confusion around what that means. And one of the most common things I hear patients say is, “Well, I don’t want to be a lab rat.” And I can assure you that if it’s gotten to the point of a clinical trial, it’s been very well-thought about, very well-designed with your safety, you as a patient, your safety in mind, and also that you would be completely informed about what you’re saying, what you’re getting involved in. So you’re not just throwing yourself up to be a lab rat. But if you’re interested in a research trial, your doctor can talk to you about what that would involve, how it would be different than not being in a research study. And it may be a way for you to be able to access the treatment of tomorrow today.