Targeted therapy is a revolutionary form of treatment for lung cancer patients. Discover why this form of treatment is different than chemotherapy and learn how it may can be used as an alternative or in combination with traditional treatments. In this Hope With Answers video, watch patient and advocate, Jill Feldman ask Dr. Natasha Leighl, of Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Canada about biomarkers, the difference between targeted therapy and chemotherapy and the questions most important for lung cancer patients to consider discussing with their doctor.
What is a biomarker?
In lung cancer we use the word biomarker to talk about something unique within the tumor. Whether it’s a gene or a protein that we can use this biomarker information to help plan the best therapy for people in treating their lung cancer.
What is the difference between targeted therapy and chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy attacks all rapidly dividing cells which is what cancer cells do. But there are also “good” rapidly dividing cells that chemotherapy attacks, which is why a patient has side effects. Targeted therapy medicines spares the good cells from attack while spares the other cells with less side effects.
How do you know if targeted therapy is right for you?
According to Dr. Leighl, having trust and faith in your medical team is important in treating your lung cancer. Having a solid relationship starts with a conversation with your doctor about getting a clear understanding your lung cancer:
• Your specific lung cancer – type and stage.
• Talk about biomarker testing and what you know and don’t know.
• Standard treatment options
• Talk about concerns
• Where to go for more support
• Come up with a treatment decision