Meet Dan: From Scrubs to Patient Gowns
I couldn’t believe that I could have cancer at 30 years old. My initial reaction was, “What am I going to do about residency?” I had worked tirelessly to achieve my dream of becoming a surgeon. “You’ve got bigger fish to fry, my friend,” the Radiologist responded.
I am hopeful that the medication continues to work as it has, but I am also nervous ... . Alectinib is an amazing treatment, as I have had minimal side effects by just taking a few pills a day.
Because of the unique causes and mechanisms of ALK-positive lung cancer, researchers have been able to develop treatments that target ALK-positive cancer growth and can be taken as daily oral medication. These meds, known as tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) inhibit the growth of cancer by blocking the signals that tell the cell to divide.
By essentially controlling the cancer's “on-off” switch, TKIs can slow or even stop cancer progression, often with minimal adverse side effects compared to traditional treatments.
There are multiple TKIs on the market, with newer medications being the most effective, in general.
Traditional therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation are less effective than TKIs for ALK-positive lung cancer. Other new therapies, such as immunotherapy, have not yet shown to work better than TKIs in a first-line setting, for ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer.
Alternative and Adjunctive Treatments:
No alternative treatment has been tested and shown to be an effective treatment for ALK-positive cancer by itself. Please talk to your doctor about adding any treatments.
For most patients with ALK-positive lung cancer, a TKI medication is the first treatment they should start.
As of 2018, Alectinib is the preferred first-line TKI per NCCN guidelines.
For more information, ask questions in the online ALK Positive support group and talk to your doctor.
MEDICAL RESOURCES & LINKS
ALK Positive Helpful Links PDF Guide
We recommend uptodate.com for full ALK-positive information