Stage 3 non-small cell lung cancer – or “NSCLC” – is estimated to affect over 43,000 patients annually in the United States. This type of lung cancer occurs when the cancer has spread to nearby tissue or lymph nodes within the chest, but has not spread to distant parts of the body. The majority of these patients are determined to have tumors that cannot be removed with surgery, called “unresectable” – and generally, survival rates have been low.
Until earlier this year, the standard treatment for these patients with inoperable Stage 3 NSCLC was chemotherapy and radiation therapy (CRT), followed by a “watch and wait” period, where doctors would conduct regular scans on their patients to keep an eye on the cancer. Unfortunately, up to 9 out of 10 of these patients will eventually have their cancer progress to Stage 4 – meaning the cancer had spread to other organs.
Now there is more hope than ever before.