As part of its ongoing dedication to providing the best information and support to patients with lung cancer, the American Lung Association is sharing information about precision medicine by launching the “Tell a Friend about Tumor Testing” initiative. Precision medicine is a rapidly evolving field that is bringing new hope to people with cancer, including lung cancer, the leading cancer killer in America. Through “Tell a Friend about Tumor Testing,” the Lung Association is raising awareness and urging lung cancer patients to talk to their doctor about tumor testing.
Delivering precision medicine involves testing tumor tissue for mutations in its DNA and levels of specific proteins in the tumor. These tests are sometimes called biomarker, molecular, genomic or tumor testing. If doctors know exactly what causes the tumor to grow, a patient may be able take a “targeted” or precision therapy that can slow tumor growth or shrink the tumor, or the patient could benefit from an immunotherapy treatment which uses the power of the immune system to fight the cancer.
Understanding what causes tumor growth and what can help stop or slow that growth, is critical in determining which treatments are best. To identify the makeup of a patient’s tumor, comprehensive genomic testing or genomic profiling, which tests for a wide range of biomarkers needs to be conducted. Testing can give healthcare providers key insights about which targeted therapy, immunotherapy or ongoing clinical trial might be most appropriate. Often even markers that do not yet have an approved treatment can provide potentially valuable information, given the pace of new drug discoveries and approvals.
“Lung cancer treatment was once essentially a one-size-fits-all approach,” said American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer. “But no two lung cancers are exactly the same, and they shouldn’t be treated that way. Unfortunately, not all patients who are eligible for tumor testing receive it and few may be aware it’s available, so we’re urging people to spread the word. If you have a friend or know someone who has lung cancer, tell them about tumor testing, and urge them to talk to their doctor about getting their tumor tested.”
The American Lung Association’s “Tell a Friend about Tumor Testing” initiative is led by the lung cancer community itself, according to Wimmer. The Lung Association will amplify the voices of LUNG FORCE Heroes, a group of patients and caregivers touched by lung cancer, to convey not only the importance of tumor testing, but also how it affected the course of their life.
“Tell a Friend about Tumor Testing” is not only about building awareness, but also about educating lung cancer patients about the ins and outs of tumor testing. Resources include a video (http://bit.ly/2fToTv4) featuring LUNG FORCE Heroes Lisa and Jennifer and lung cancer pathologist Dr. Mark Pool, as well as an in-depth downloadable brochure. The Lung Association and its partners are asking the lung cancer community to raise awareness by sharing these resources, along with related Lung Association social media posts, and joining the “Tell a Friend about Tumor Testing” Twitter Thunderclap (https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/50194-tell-a-friend-tumor-testing) on January 11, 2017.
“Tell a Friend about Tumor Testing” is made possible through generous support from AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Novartis.
“It is important that as lung cancer testing and treatment advances are made, we help educate and engage the community and increase access to these treatments. Our hope is that one day all lung cancer patients get the best available treatment options for them, and campaigns like ‘Tell a Friend about Tumor Testing’ help move us closer to that goal,” Wimmer said.
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