#LCSM Chat Topic 3/23: What Is a High-Value Cancer Drug?

Our topic for the next #LCSM Chat on Thursday, March 23 at 5 PM Pacific (8 PM Eastern) will be “What Is a High-Value Cancer Drug?”

With the price of new cancer drugs escalating, many are concerned about whether patients and the healthcare system can continue to access the most effective drugs.  The 2016-2017 President’s Cancer Panel (PCP) topic is “Ensuring Patients’ Access to High-Value Cancer Drugs.”  Andrew Schorr of Patient Power will be one of the patient advocates participating in the March 27,  2017 PCP meeting.  This chat will help provide some inputs for Andrew, and give us a chance to chat about the topic in general.

You can also provide Andrew with information for the PCP by completing this survey:  http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3370937/Cancer-Drug-Cost-Survey-2017

Moderator Deana Hendrickson (@LungCancerFaces) will use the following topic questions to lead our discussion:

  • T1: How has paying for cancer drugs caused financial hardship for you or someone you know?
  • T2: What factors should determine a drug’s value?
  • T3: How would you define a “high-value cancer drug”? Is it by cost alone?
  • T4: What “quality of life” factors should be captured in clinical trials?
  • T5: How might drug companies do more to prove to you that they are working in your best interest?

Please remember to include #LCSM in ALL your tweets so the other chat participants can see them. You can read a primer on participating in the chat here. Hope you’ll join us!

#LCSM Chat Topic 3/9: Test Tumors to Target Lung Cancer

Our topic for the next #LCSM Chat on Thursday, March 9th at 5 PM Pacific (8 PM Eastern) is “Test Tumors to Target Lung Cancer.”

Lung cancer treatments are evolving rapidly. Some newer treatments require testing to identify patients who are likely to respond to the drugs. The testing looks for certain biomarkers on the patient’s cancer tumors, like alterations in the tumor cells’ genes.  Patients whose tumors test positive may be able to take approved targeted therapy drugs that are usually more effective and more tolerable than chemo.

A substantial percentage of non-small cell lung cancers do have gene alterations that can be treated with an approved or experimental targeted therapy.  Approved targeted therapy drugs are available for alterations in three genes (EGFR, ALK, and ROS1), and drugs for other gene alterations are available in clinical trials.  Other types of lung cancer may have available targeted therapy drugs as well. For some biomarkers, a clinical trial may be the best treatment option.

Unfortunately, a December 2016 study found about 40% of patients with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer treated in a community setting aren’t getting tested for even the top two biomarkers with approved drugs (EGFR and ALK). That’s why campaigns such as “Tell a Friend About Tumor Testing” and “Precision Medicine for Me” seek to encourage lung cancer patients to learn about tumor testing.

All lung cancer patients should ask their lung cancer specialist about tumor testing and targeted therapy options. If your doctor is not current on available targeted therapies, seek a second opinion with a lung cancer specialist or a major cancer center.

Moderator Janet Freeman-Daily (@JFreemanDaily) will use the following topic questions to lead our discussion:

  • T1: What exactly is tumor testing for lung cancer? Who should have it, and why is it important?
  • T2: What is targeted therapy? If you’ve had targeted therapy for lung cancer, what was it like?
  • T3: What questions should patients ask their lung cancer doctors about tumor testing and targeted therapies?
  • T4: If my doctor doesn’t test my tumor, what should I do?
  • T5: What resources are available to help patients and carers learn more about lung cancer tumor testing & targeted therapy?

Please remember to include #LCSM in ALL your tweets so the other chat participants can see them. You can read a primer on participating in the chat  here. Hope you’ll join us!

#LCSM Chat Topic 2/23:Living with Cancer–What’s in your Toolbox?

imagesWhether you’ve been diagnosed recently, or have been living with it for years, daily life with cancer can be a challenge. Of course, different disease stages and treatments will have an impact on the types of challenges patients, caretakers and physicians face. Nevertheless, there are common strategies or tools that can improve quality of life (QOL) for most patients. Moderator Deana Hendrickson (@lungcancerfaces) will pose the following questions to help gently guide this week’s conversation:

T1: How can spirituality and/or faith play a role in improving QOL for patients? Examples? #LCSM

T2: Does support improve QOL for patients (family, coworkers, other patients, etc.)? Are there patients who can “go it alone?” #LCSM

T3: How can hobbies or interests, new or old, help distract from living in cancer world? #LCSM

T4: Do you know someone who has benefited from seeing a therapist to deal with cancer-related issues (anxiety, depression)? #LCSM

T5: Does research & active participation in treatment improve QOL? How can patients & physicians balance hope/reality? #LCSM

T6: What about palliative care (pain management, physical therapy, SOB relief, etc.)? Is that offered? Has it helped? #LCSM

T7: Regardless of prognosis, can it be helpful to face mortality & get affairs in order, or is it counterproductive? Why? #LCSM

T8: How can physicians help patients cope? Is communication style important? Early palliative care referral? What else? #LCSM

Please join us Thursday, February 23, at 5 pm PST/8 pm EST, for what should be a lively and friendly discussion. If you’re new to tweet chats, please check out this primer.

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