Silhouette of a person facing a sunrise that breaks away the dark clouds, held in the hand of a much larger silhouette.

Looking On The Bright Side

I have marveled at the emerging discoveries of lung cancer drugs and clinical trials. Most of the drugs have controlled gene mutations and metastases. In addition, some clinical trials have been developed to target resistance to TKIs. Hence, I feel optimistic knowing the unending creation of treatments satisfying the medical needs and survival of cancer patients.

Emerging treatment options

There are groups of targeted drugs or TKIs that are effective against specific tumor changes and metastases. At present, more TKIs have been approved by FDA so treatment options are wider. I hope for a longer run with my ALK inhibitor. However, reality dictates that there will be progression or unacceptable side effects. Thus, there will be a change to a new TKI when that happens.

On the go clinical trials

The changes in the biomarker found in lung cancer tumors have driven enormous clinical trials of new targeted therapies. The success in the clinical trials has augmented the approval of TKIs as first-line or succeeding treatments. Hope is evident as more willing lung cancer patients participate in clinical trials. However, there are severe side effects from newly developed treatments. Hence, clinical trials are needed to make way for improvement and efficacy.

Changes in lung cancer survival rates

Studies show that targeted drugs have improved the lives of many patients. There are more patients surpassing their five-year milestones. Other gene changes for lung cancer like ROS1, EGFR, KRAS, or MET have also shown progress in their survival rates. Definitely, targeted therapy treatments do work at large.

Growing community groups for support

Most of the lung cancer community groups, such as The White Ribbon Project, share that anyone with lungs can get lung cancer. In addition, there are Canadian counterparts like Breath Hope and Lung Cancer Canada. Furthermore, some specific biomarker groups have emerged like ALK Positive, The ROS1ders, and EGFR Resisters. All these support groups have eased the needs of both patients and caregivers.

In-person lung cancer conferences

Annually a number of lung cancer conferences are lined up for specialists, patients, and caregivers. Most of them were done virtually during the Pandemic. I look forward to joining the Hope Summit, ALK Summit, and Lung Cancer Canada Patient Summit. With the lifting of mandates, in-person will soon happen this year. But, I am still not comfortable traveling for now.

Advances in liquid biopsy

Liquid biopsy or blood tests for cancer testing has been the hype in the cancer world. Its introduction analyzes the circulating of tumor cells in the blood. Thus, the initial treatment can be decided faster and improve the quality of patients’ life.

I have accepted my lung cancer cells have genetic instability and may favor tumor relapse. My hope is more treatment options will be available and funded for me when my current ALK Positive TKI approaches its limit.

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