What is the right therapy for your non-small cell lung cancer? This animated video reviews treatment decision considerations, the importance of biomarker testing, and steps to engage in your non-small cell lung cancer care.
No two people with lung cancer are the same, so finding the right treatment for each patient is critical.
While receiving a non-small cell lung cancer diagnosis and choosing a therapy can be overwhelming, advancements in research are providing more options and more hope than ever.
So, what should be considered when making a treatment decision? Physicians may consider factors such as:
- A patient’s age, overall health and any pre-existing conditions they have.
- As well as their type and stage of lung cancer.
- And their test results, including biomarker testing.
Biomarker testing, also referred to as molecular testing, identifies key markers such as genes, proteins, or other molecules in a sample of tissue, blood, or other body fluid. Understanding the genetic makeup of the lung cancer helps your team better understand your disease and may influence treatment options – leading to more personalized care.
For example, if the PD-L1 receptor is detected during biomarker testing, the patient may benefit from immunotherapy. Additionally, identification of an ALK mutation or an EGFR mutation may indicate that a patient will respond to a targeted therapy.
So, how can you access personalized medicine? You can start by talking with your doctor about biomarker testing and ask if your cancer has been tested for all known biomarkers. Request to review the test results together and ask if there are any markers that affect your risk, prognosis, or treatment options.
Before you choose a therapy, weigh the pros and cons of each option with your doctor. Ask about side effects and if any of your existing health conditions may impact your therapy choice. You should also discuss your treatment choices with a care partner, such as a friend or loved one – someone you trust.
So, How Can You Take Action?
- Ask your doctor if you have had, or will receive, all essential testing, including biomarker testing.
- Seek a lung cancer specialist to guide your care. A second opinion consultation with a specialist can confirm your diagnosis and treatment approach.
- Partner with your doctor to determine a personalized treatment approach for YOUR lung cancer.
- Bring a friend or a loved one to your appointments to help you process and recall information.
- And finally, always speak up and ask questions. Remember, you have a voice in YOUR lung cancer care.
- To learn more about your non-small cell lung cancer and to access tools for self-advocacy, visit powerfulpatients.org/lungcancer.