There have been many medical advancements in lung cancer within the last 5 years. Doctors now can identify many different types of lung cancers, and provide you with an individualized treatment plan that fights the kind of lung cancer you have.
Chemotherapy (also called “chemo”) is a standard cancer treatment prescribed by doctors that kills rapidly growing cancer cells. The downside to chemotherapy is that it can’t tell the difference between cancer cells and other cells in the body that divide quickly, such as hair follicles, cells that line the intestine, and bone marrow cells. Chemotherapy is usually given by injection and, depending on the stage of cancer, it can be prescribed with or without surgery.
Beyond Chemotherapy: Targeted Oral Therapy
Now, new medical advancements have produced targeted oral therapy for patients whose lung cancers test positive for EGFR and ALK mutations. Taken as pills, targeted oral therapy specifically fights the cancer cells. In fact, targeted therapies are now recommended as a starting treatment for advanced stage NSCLC patients who have EGFR+ or ALK+ mutations. 9
Targeted Therapy Works Differently
Is Targeted Oral Therapy Right for Me?
Oral targeted therapy is most effective for lung cancer patients with mutations, such as EGFR or ALK, so if you or a loved one have been diagnosed with lung cancer, the first step is getting a biomarker test to see if you have the EGFR or ALK mutation. If you have lung cancer, and you are Asian or a neversmoker, it is especially important that you ask your doctor about Biomarker testing and if oral targeted therapy may be right for you.