When I was diagnosed with lung cancer back in 2013, The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre tested for two specific kinds of (non-small cell) lung cancer: EGFR and ALK. How thankful we are that they routinely tested for ALK because knowing my specific diagnosis has made a huge difference in terms of my treatment. Because we knew specifically what kind of lung cancer, we could choose the best treatments which have kept me going for over eight years! How thankful we are for testing and treatments.
During those eight years, advances in lung cancer research have been outstanding! Now we can treat so many more kinds of lung cancers. It can be challenging for hospitals to keep up with testing, to keep testing for all the treatable types of lung cancer. I’m happy to report that now The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre tests for eleven specific types of lung cancer: PD-L1, EGFR, ALK, ROS1, RET, KRAS, BRAF, HER2, MET, NTRK, and PIK3CA.
Clinical trials can be the best way for some people affected by lung cancer to get the newest treatments, so testing must be aligned with treatments available by clinical trials or compassionate release programs.
Lung cancer research will continue to offer increasing treatment options for people affected by lung cancer. As more advances in the testing and treating of cancer arise, it matters that hospitals ensure that testing aligns with available treatment options.
How many types of lung cancer does your cancer centre test for?
(Note: this testing can also called by other names, for example: biomarker testing, molecular testing, precision oncology, tumour testing, genomic testing, … )