For decades, cancer treatments have traditionally included just three options: surgery, radiation and chemotherapy—or often, some combination of the three. Now, targeted therapies are changing these long-held approaches, offering the promise of more personalized treatment pathways. New research indicates these medicines are beginning to positively impact our fight with certain cancers.
The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a study showing population-level mortality from non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in the United States fell sharply from 2013 to 2016, even decreasing 6.3% annually among men. Moreover, the percent of survival after diagnosis improved substantially, increasing from 26% among men diagnosed with NSCLC in 2001 to 35% among those diagnosed in 2014. Importantly, improvements in survival were found across all races and ethnic groups and similar patterns were found among women with NSCLC.
The researchers who authored the study concluded that “a reduction in incidence along with treatment advances — particularly approvals for and use of targeted therapies — is likely to explain the reduction in mortality observed during this period.”