Now that you have started therapy, the goal is to shrink your tumor(s) and prevent ALK+ lung cancer from progressing—this means keeping it from growing and spreading to other parts of the body. Your oncologist will monitor your health along the way with scans and appropriate lab tests. If tumors progress while on a given therapy, you and your Health Care Team will meet and discuss the next step in your treatment plan, which could involve adjusting your therapy.
There is currently no cure for ALK+ lung cancer and progression is not uncommon. While the thought of progression is scary, you need to know there are other treatment options if your first treatment fails. Over the past decade, advancements have been made in ALK-targeted therapy.
Treatments may work differently for every person.
- Some people do well with a particular medication, and may stay on it for a long time, while others may not respond at all
- Some may not be able to take a particular medication due to the side effects they experience
This is all normal with ALK+ lung cancer but the good news is there are multiple options for you and your Health Care Team to discuss and consider.
Your Health Care Team may talk with you about enrolling in a clinical trial, in which a certain medication is being tested for your type of cancer. If your doctor should speak with you about possible clinical trials, ask about the purpose of the trial, potential side effects, and what's involved for volunteers.