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Cancer – Small Cell and Non Small Cell

February 1, 2021


When someone’s diagnosed with lung cancer, there are two buckets originally that the lung cancer will fall in. So usually going to be small cell lung cancer or non-small cell lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer is pretty aggressive and rapidly dividing, and it has its own kind of unique management oftentimes, which is chemotherapy. And then you have non-small cell, and non-small cell is constituted primarily by two buckets and they’re squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. The reason this distinction is important is because adenocarcinoma, which generally is considered the non-smoker cancer, but smokers also get this cancer as well, adenocarcinoma has special mutations or targets that sometimes you can attack with just oral therapy and have amazing responses. They present only about 5 to 8% of the time, but it’s definitely worth pursuing a biopsy, even if it looks like it’s very advanced to get those mutations, because generally those responses are really good. Some examples of those mutations are EGFR, ALK, ROS1, and often we look at BRAF as well, and there’s a new amplification that was also just approved. So these things are coming out all the time and that’s why genetic or mutational sequencing is very important.

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