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The promise of clinical trials - by Katie Brown


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The promise of clinical trials

April 7th, 2014 - by Katie Brown

Heidi HennHeidi Henn, a program manager for the United States Navy, never thought she was someone at risk for lung cancer. Heidi wasn’t a smoker, so when she was diagnosed with stage 3b lung cancer in October of 2011, it was a complete surprise.

Heidi did a lot of research on the internet and visited credible cancer websites and message boards to arm herself with information. Those sites provided her with the knowledge and insight to ask her doctor about gene mutations and clinical trials.

It took 3 long months to get her tumor tested. Heidi learned she had the ALK gene mutation, which only occurs in 4% of the lung cancer population. There are many gene mutations out there and Heidi learned that there was a specific drug targeted to treat her type of gene mutation, and that there were other drugs being developed in clinical trials that she may one day be a part of.

Heidi often wonders what happens to people who don’t know to get their tumor tested, or whether her cancer could have been cured sooner.

“I would like there to be a concerted effort from the major research hospitals down to the local country doctor that will make them aware of the research and the clinical trials available to patients. I believe the future of research and clinical trials will point in the direction of personalized clinical trials and individualized care tailored to your kind of tumor.”

When asked what advice she has for those newly diagnosed, she says,“I believe it’s important to educate yourself about your cancer and meet other survivors. When I was first diagnosed it was a very lonely time. I met survivors for the first time at the LUNGevity HOPE Summit in 2012. It was a huge relief to me to meet others like me, learn about clinical trials and therapies like pulmonary rehabilitation for people with lung cancer. When I went home I asked for pulmonary rehab and doing that improved my lung capacity!”

http://blog.lungevity.org/2014/04/07/th ... al-trials/


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