How Can Doctors Encourage Molecular Testing in Lung Cancer Patients?

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How can we get more people to participate in molecular testing? Dr. David Carbone explains how education and advocacy efforts can help doctors encourage molecular testing in lung cancer patients. In addition, Dr. Carbone explains why molecular testing is important for patients and doctors to utilize. Dr. David Carbone is director of the James Thoracic Center at James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute at Ohio State University.

Produced by Patient Power and Antidote in association with the Precision Medicine for Me Initiative.

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Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Dr. Carbone:

One way is to do it automatically for free.  So one way to get more people to have these tests is to do it automatically and do it for free, like we are proposing in our statewide initiative, but also education through patient advocacy organizations such as Lung Cancer Foundation of America or LUNGevity where they work very hard to educate patients that this is the right thing to do. 

Educating doctors, that it makes a difference.  Even though you have only a few percent of your patients with a particular genetic abnormality, for that few percent it's—makes all the difference in the world from a few months’ survival to a many years’ survival, and it's worth testing everyone for these markers. 

And then I think we have to work through advocacy organizations and academic institutions to try to convince payers that this is the right thing to do, and it should be done automatically.  It shouldn't be something that's up to individual doctors to do.  It should be—new lung cancers should automatically get profiled for these markers and the immunotherapy marker PD-L1, no questions asked, just like is pretty much done today for breast cancer with ER, PR and HER2 status.  You wouldn't consider treating a breast cancer patient today without those markers, and yet many doctors treat lung cancer every day without looking at any markers.  And I think that that's not good practice.  

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

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Page last updated on April 21, 2017