No Two Lung Cancer Tumors Are Alike

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Topics include: Understanding , Treatment and Living Well

You have been newly diagnosed with lung cancer—now what?  Meet Kim Norris, founder and president of the Lung Cancer Foundation of America (LCFA).  Kim’s husband passed away with stage IV lung cancer before the advent of molecular testing.  Now Kim is a fierce patient advocate.  Listen as she shares beginning steps for the newly diagnosed.

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. 

Kim Norris:

I think I got involved in the advocacy around 2003, and back then there were not targeted therapies.  The discovery of EGFR, we had these drugs, gefitinib (Iressa) and erlotinib (Tarceva), that were starting to work, but we didn't know why.  So it was kind of reverse.  We had to say, why were these drugs working in 10 percent of the patients that got it?  

So the researchers had to go and figure out, and that's when they discovered, wait a minute, there's an EGFR mutation.  And those patients with EGFR mutation do well, and oh, well, maybe other patients have unique mutations.  So that just kind of started the ball rolling. 

It also started with the human genome process, and from the Human Genome Project they also then went to the Cancer Genome Project.  And with the Cancer Genome Project, luckily they selected lung cancer to be one of the first solid tumors to study the genome.  So that just opened up this wealth of information where we actually learned that no two lung cancer tumors are alike.  Every patient's tumor is unique.  It's like a snowflake. 

Whereas before if you had lung cancer, we would just treat all lung cancers the same. Now with precision medicine, targeted therapy we can actually identify what mutation your tumor has and identify a treatment that will go directly to that mutation and help kill the tumor.  It's very exciting.  

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 March 21, 2017