What You Need To Know About
Your Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Diagnosis
Being diagnosed with Non-small cell lung cancer can be difficult and understanding all treatment options is overwhelming. Patients recently diagnosed or relapsed with Non-small cell lung cancer may be wondering what the right next step would be.
It doesn’t have to be done alone.
We’ve created an actionable guide that lays out the considerations when dealing with a Non-small cell lung cancer diagnosis to ensure no step is missed and to help manage the process.
Step 1: Understand Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Understand Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer, about 80% of lung cancer cases are NSCLC. NSCLC typically grows slower than Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC). There are three types of NSCLC:
- Adenocarcinoma: The most common type of NSCLC, which starts in cells that make mucus and is found on the outer parts of the lung
- Squamous cell carcinoma: Accounts for about 25% of NSCLC cases, which starts in the lining of the airways of the lungs
- Large-cell carcinoma: The least common type of NSCLC, occurring in about 10% of cases and starting anywhere in the lung
Step 2: Understand Your Specific Diagnosis
Understand Your Specific Diagnosis
Once diagnosed with Non-small cell lung cancer, it must be determined if the cancer has spread, and if so, how far. Doctors will run tests to determine the stage of your cancer, which is the amount of cancer found in the body. Knowing the stage of your cancer will help you determine which treatment option is best for your cancer case. NSCLC is staged using the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) TNM system. The TNM system functions around 3 points:
- The size and extent of the main tumor (T)
- The spread to nearby lymph nodes (N)
- The spread (metastasis) to distant sites (M)
Step 3: Understand the Standard Treatments
Understand the Standard Treatments
Treatment for Non-small cell lung cancer varies depending on the stage of the cancer, but the standard treatments include:
- Surgery: Remove the cancer
- Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA): High-energy radio waves heat the tumor and destroy cancer cells
- Radiation Therapy: High-energy rays or particles kill cancer cells
- Chemotherapy: Anti-cancer drugs are injected into the vein or taken by mouth to travel through the bloodstream
- Targeted Drug Therapy: Drugs that target blood vessel growth and specific gene changes, such as EGFR, ALK, ROS1, BRAF, RET, MET, and NTRK gene changes
- Immunotherapy: Drugs assist the patient's immune system in finding and destroying cancer cells
Step 4: Understand Research Treatments
Understand Research Treatments
Around 300 Non-small cell lung cancer clinical trials are currently active in the United States! These trials are investigating new treatments and detection methods that could save lives in the future!
Participating in a clinical trial not only progresses much needed research, but gives patients access to these new innovative therapies years before the general population.
Step 5: Building Your Support System
Building Your Support System
You do not have to face your NSCLC diagnosis alone.
- Family and friends: Help with child care, transportation, and house maintenance
- Doctor and nursing staff: Your primary cancer care and treatment team
- Genetic specialists: Find gene mutations and inherited cancer risk
- Nutritionists: Manage diet before, during, and after cancer treatment
- Therapists: Address the emotional effects of your diagnosis
- Social workers: Help with discharge planning and finding home health care
- Support or advocacy groups: Assist you with navigating the cancer landscape
Step 6: Finding Resources
Locating the appropriate resources may seem overwhelming. Thankfully, there are programs designed to help.
- Sign up for local cancer groups or Myelofibrosis specific groups to connect with other people going through a similar journey.
- Reach out to local patient advocacy groups to get connected to education, care, and financial programs as needed.
- Utilize your clinic or hospital's community resource manager or social worker to receive a tailored resource guide just for you.
- Massive Bio Patient Resources
Step 7: Take A Step Forward
Take A Step Forward
Towards a positive outcome.
Be your own advocate and look for proactive options, such as clinical trials. Decide on a treatment plan and stay positive during your cancer journey. Know that there are resources and people around you who are willing to help.
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Interested in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Clinical Trials?
Massive Bio is 4x more successful in finding cancer clinical trial matches for patients than any other service provider. Partner with our patient advocates to learn how you can access non-small cell lung cancer clinical trials matched to your unique cancer.