A New Pill Could Halve the Risk of Dying From Lung Cancer

This represents big news for treating lung cancer patients

Lung X-rays
A new medication could be a game changer for lung cancer treatment.
Getty Images

According to data from the National Cancer Institute, lung cancer is both one of the most common forms of cancer and one of the deadliest. This year, 21% of the deaths from cancer in the United States have been as a result of lung and bronchus cancer — as have 12% of new cases of cancer in the country. But this form of cancer could be far less deadly based on the results of a study recently presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting.

Writing at The Guardian, Andrew Gregory has more details on the study’s results and what it might imply for lung cancer treatment going forward. The study spanned patients in 26 countries, and involved giving them the drug osimertinib in the wake of surgery. Specifically, Gregory writes, the medication was used to treat patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

Those who took it saw their risk of death dropping by 51%. Yale Cancer Center’s Dr. Roy Herbst, who was the study’s lead author, told The Guardian that lung cancer “has typically been very resistant to therapies” — making this a potentially massive step forward in treating it.

While this medication is in use in some cases already, the study’s authors told The Guardian that they hoped these results would see osimertinib — also sold under the name Tagrisso — used in more cases. It’s a promising development in addressing one of the largest medical issues of our time.

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