May 8, 2017

The changing face of lung cancer treatments

Claire Mulvihill, Lung Cancer Support Nurse, Lung Foundation Australia

In December, I was fortunate to attend the World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) in Vienna which reinforced that we are seeing an incredible change and hope in the realm of lung cancer both nationally and internationally. Lung cancer treatments are also becoming increasingly accessible to patients, through many clinical trials and are continuing to move at an incredible speed. The treatments are also becoming more personalised to fit a patient’s unique lung cancer diagnosis. We are now seeing patients living longer with an improved quality of life and wellbeing.

Five years ago patient treatment consisted of traditional options such as surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Now a patient newly diagnosed with advanced lung cancer has many options which can depend on the patient’s medical history, overall physical and emotional wellbeing, and specific makeup or type of lung cancer diagnosed. They are able to work with their Lung Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) on their appropriate treatment options. Traditional treatment options still have a huge role to play in treating lung cancer, however additional options are available like molecular (or genetic) testing to help determine if your lung cancer has a genetic mutation and the best treatment option. Targeted therapy which targets a specific tumour mutation or immuno-oncology that uses the body’s immune system to fight the disease is another option for treatment that wasn’t previously available for patients.

Whilst the new treatments are exciting, it can be overwhelming for patients to understand and navigate. Patients can access support to ask questions and get further information in order to better understand their treatment and move forward in their lung cancer journey.

If you are looking for information and support please call Lung Foundation Australia and ask to talk to Lung Cancer Support Nurse, Claire Mulvihill, on 1800 654 301 or email lungcancernurse@lungfoundation.com.au.