Immunotherapy: New Hope for Lung Cancer Patients

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Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in the U.S. for both men and women. According to the American Cancer Society, each year more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. And because most lung cancers have already spread and are at an advanced stage when they are first found, treatment can be challenging.

Rarely is there much good news to share. In 2015, that changed. 

Breakthrough News

Big breakthroughs in immunotherapy made 2015 a landmark year for lung cancer treatment, bringing new hope to millions of people throughout the world. Since 2015 there have been multiple advancements in immunotherapy. This is leading to even better outcomes for patients with all types of lung cancer, including small cell and non-small cell lung cancer. You've likely seen television commercials for some of the new immunotherapy drugs.

What Is Immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy is a new way to treat cancer by tapping into the unique powers of the immune systems to fight the disease. The FDA has approved immunotherapy drugs, nivolumab (Opdivo®), pembrolizumab (Keytruda®), atezolizumab (Tecentriq), ipilimumab (Yervoy), cemiplimab (Libtayo) and durvalumab (Imfinzi) to treat lung cancer in various stages of disease. Immunotherapy has been shown to improve survival in patients with advanced lung cancer whether it is given alone, with chemotherapy, or after chemotherapy and radiation.  

Clinical Trials Make Breakthroughs Possible

These exciting advancements could not have been possible without clinical trials. Thanks to those who participate in clinical trials research, people with cancer are living longer and with a better quality of life than ever before.

In Lancaster, the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute offers opportunities for participation in numerous studies. Patients who take part in these studies receive either the best treatment currently known for their specific cancer, or new and possibly more effective therapy.

Click here to learn how you or someone you know might become involved.

Lung Cancer CT Screening

If you’re a current or former smoker and are concerned about your risk for developing lung cancer, a low-dose lung cancer CT screening may be right for you. An online assessment can help you find out if you’re eligible.

author name

Samuel J. Kerr, MD

Samuel J. Kerr, MD, is a hematologist-oncologist with LG Health Physicians Hematology and Medical Oncology. Dr. Kerr’s areas of expertise include small cell and non-small cell cancer of the lung, mesothelioma, and thymoma.

Education: Medical School–Temple University School of Medicine; Residency and Fellowship–Penn State College of Medicine.

Call: 717-544-9400

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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