Members of our armed services have protected our country for generations, providing us with national security and personal freedoms. However, many of our veterans receive a diagnosis of lung cancer, which the federal government has acknowledged can be attributable to risk factors such as environmental exposures during military service, smoking exposures and age. This November, our country celebrates 76 years of Veterans Day, and we want to increase awareness of veterans with lung cancer in this special issue of CURE.
“We certainly have a lung cancer problem in this country,” said Dr. Drew Moghanaki of UCLA Health in California. “It also stems from very aggressive tobacco marketing campaigns, (with military contracts) to push cigarettes into the ration bags of our soldiers, who were just kids when they joined.”
We spoke with three doctors about appropriate treatment options for veterans, potential causes of lung cancer based on chemical exposures, and inequities regarding socioeconomic status and geographic location.
“We know that lung cancer disproportionately affects our veterans,” said Dr. Charles B. Simone II of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and the New York Proton Center. “We know that lung cancer in general is one of the most common cancers in the United States, but … people that are in (or are) retired from the armed forces have disproportionately high rates of lung cancer, such that really 1 in 5 of all cancer diagnoses in our veterans are in lung cancer.”
This special issue of CURE also looks at the approach of altering treatment doses of therapy, which can ultimately change the lives of patients for the better.
This approach, known as treatment de-escalation, can not only continue to control cancer, but it can also improve patients’ quality of life. When treatment leads to symptoms that interrupt daily life, such as fatigue, it’s important for patients to know that they can speak with their doctors about potentially lowering their dose.
Other news covered in this issue includes the recent approval of a targeted therapy drug from the Food and Drug Administration for some patients with RET fusion-positive non- small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), a novel vaccine for the disease, a drug combination that may improve survival in patients with extensive- stage small cell lung cancer and more.
A patient also shares her story about the day she received her diagnosis of ALK-positive NSCLC, and how she believed there was a “divine interaction” that helped her get the care and support she needed.
We hear from a doctor from one of our cancer center partners who discusses unmet needs regarding treatment options for patients with NSCLC and the impact of the platinum-based chemotherapy shortage on patients, as we continue our coverage of the shortage that continues to affect so many patients and their families.
“In patients who have had an early stage, say a stage 1 or stage 2 lung cancer, the mainstay of therapy is surgery. That’s where we often would use cisplatin chemotherapy, as a prevention or as an adjunct … after the surgical treatment,” Dr. Gene G. Finley from Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute, Allegheny Clinic Medical Oncology, told CURE. “That strategy has also been pretty effective. And that’s where the drug short- age of cisplatin has been most difficult for us, not in the majority of patients who present with advanced disease.”
As always, we hope you find our stories inspirational and informative.
Thank you for reading.
MIKE HENNESSY JR.
President & CEO
MJH LIFE SCIENCES®
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