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Where Is Research Today for Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)?

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Published on December 13, 2017

Where do things stand today for research in small cell lung cancer (SCLC)? Andrew Schorr, Dr. Laura Chow from Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and Carly Ornstein, with the American Lung Association, discuss how is research is progressing in (SCLC) small cell lung cancer as well as the current chemotherapy treatments for SCLC. Watch now to hear advice from these small cell lung cancer experts.

Produced by Patient Power. We thank Celgene, Helsinn, Novartis and Genentech for their support.

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Transcript | Where Is Research Today for Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That's how you’ll get care that's most appropriate for you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Andrew Schorr:

So, Carly, people, you get people calling the American Lung Association all around the country, and they see TV ads and things in the paper, and there hasn't been that much or not nearly as much related—certainly not TV ads related to small cell.  Do you have people feeling left out, if you will?  Or they come to you, and then you can give them hope as you explain the kind of things that Dr. Chow was just explaining? 

Carly Ornstein:

Yeah, I think that it can be really common to feel as though research is progressing in non?small cell but not progressing in small cell.  We've been lucky that there have been great advances in non?small cell, and we're very excited about that, and we would like to see those kind of advances happen for small cell. But, you know, take comfort that there is research going on and that small cell lung cancer patients do respond very well to the existing therapies, many of them do.  So not to lose hope in what existing therapies can do for you.  

There are clinical trials that go on for small cell, and that might be a wonderful option for someone with small cell lung cancer that's fighting the disease.  Some—you know, try and remain hopeful and know that even though you might not be getting one of the newer drugs of the existing treatment might be the best treatment for you and might work very, very well for you.  

Andrew Schorr:

That's true.  And, Dr. Chow, I want to come back to that.  I mean, as much as we talk about clinical trials you've mentioned that you have some standby chemo combinations and radiation that could be very effective.  It's worked for Jerry so far, right? 

Dr. Chow:

So definitely, if they're—so there's different situations for which we see small cell lung cancer.  I think Jerry's in a wonderful, unique situation where his cancer was found early, and he was able to get surgery followed by chemotherapy.  I think if we're able to detect lung cancer early and it's still at what we call limited stage, it can still be cured with usually a combination of chemotherapy and radiation, and then we discuss whether they should get what we call prophylactic brain radiation or not. 

The difficulty is I think if people have symptoms and they wait too long, the cancer can actually grow quite quickly, and they're found in the extensive stage, and at that point it's much more difficult to treat as predominantly we're treating to relieve symptoms and trying to shrink the cancer with chemotherapy.  The chemotherapy works well, but unfortunately eventually the cells do become resistant, or the cancer does come back and starts growing after chemotherapy.  That's a much more difficult situation.  

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.