Welcome to this special edition of CONQUER: the patient voice. This special issue is focused on lung cancer, and is timed for November—Lung Cancer Awareness month. This informative issue is created for you at a time when lung cancer organizations and advocacy groups are trying to increase awareness to this deadly cancer.
When someone is diagnosed with lung cancer, that person will usually see a local oncologist in the immediate geographic area. That is fine, but we want to make sure that you are empowered with information, so that you know what questions to ask, what tests should be done, and what treatment options to inquire about.
That’s because a lot of improvements and scientific discoveries have happened in the last few years, which have resulted in patients being diagnosed with lung cancer earlier, when treatment is more successful. However, many lung cancers are still diagnosed late, so drug makers are developing new treatment options even for people who are diagnosed with advanced or metastatic disease.
This issue includes information that will educate you about new targeted therapies and immunotherapies that may be best for your specific type of lung cancer, and its stage, based on specific biomarkers and prognostic factors related to your actual lung cancer diagnosis.
Speaking of biomarkers, many newly diagnosed patients, and in some cases even those who have been receiving treatment for a while, may not know what lung cancer biomarkers are, and how they can strongly influence the proper selection of treatment options for you. The article about the role of biomarkers in lung cancer can help you understand why this is so important to know.
And the personalized medicine article further highlights the role of biomarker testing needed to identify each type of lung cancer, so the best therapy could be selected for each patient.
Another article is from a lung cancer nurse navigator, explaining her role and presenting a case study that may resonate with you. Her biggest message is that if you have not yet met with your navigator, you should ask to meet with him or her. Usually, such an oncology navigator is among the first professionals you should encounter as you begin your lung cancer journey. This experienced lung cancer navigator also provides you with resources and tips that you could use right now.
Unintentional weight loss can be a special challenge for patients with lung cancer. Learn from a nutrition expert how to stay healthy and maintain a healthy body weight during and after your lung cancer treatment, to ensure the treatment is successful and to enhance your overall well-being.
We would be remiss if we didn’t provide information about the importance of lung cancer screening. This is a very successful way to identify lung cancer early, or even head it off, by identifying nodules that if left untreated could develop into lung cancer later. There is a type of x-ray that can identify these findings and prevent a person from having lung cancer in the future. Think of it as a colonoscopy for your lungs, but no bowel prep or invasive procedure is needed. And the age for starting lung cancer screening was recently lowered, to ensure that people who are at risk start screening earlier.
So take in a deep breath, get a bottle of water, and relax in a comfortable chair as you read this special issue, designed to empower you and your caregivers about lung cancer prevention, diagnosis, biomarkers, treatment, and the value of having a navigator at your side.