Stage 4 Lung Cancer: Treatment Extending Life
Stage 4 Lung Cancer: Celebrating Thanksgiving Against Odds - Remarkable Treatment Extending Life Beyond Expectations Lung Cancer

A Diagnosis that Uplifted Hope

Colleen Ziegler was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in 2015. Since then, she participated in a clinical trial involving targeted therapy associated with a mutation in the ALK gene, surpassing expectations for lung cancer treatment.

The Impact of Targeted Therapy

Around 5% of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) patients have cancer due to an “ALK gene alteration”. Ziegler opted for a drug called alectinib (Alecensa), a targeted therapy. This treatment remarkably aided in progression-free survival eight years after the diagnosis of metastatic lung cancer.

Balancing Benefits and Risks

Despite the significant benefits of clinical trials for Stage 4 lung cancer, they come with risks, including potential side effects not entirely understood. Individuals interested in participating should consult their doctors to assess their suitability.

Embracing Life Amidst Cancer

A mother living with metastatic lung cancer rejected the initial prognosis of her doctors, given only a few months to live. Colleen Ziegler, 67, expresses gratitude for the hope-inducing treatment discovered through her involvement in a Stage 4 lung cancer clinical trial.

Cherishing Moments, Redefining Life

Eight years after the Stage 4 lung cancer diagnosis, Ziegler finds solace in moments shared with her family, experiencing joy she didn’t anticipate and looking forward to more life-enriching opportunities.

Don’t Let Cancer Define You

Stage 4 Lung Cancer: Celebrating Thanksgiving Against Odds - Remarkable Treatment Extending Life Beyond Expectations

“A motto for me is, as long as you’re capable of doing something, you should. And that’s why I advocate for what I do,” Ziegler tells SurvivorNet.

Discovery Amidst Adversity

The initial diagnosis of Stage 4 lung cancer was a shock for Ziegler. Her husband, Tom, was equally terrified upon learning about his wife’s condition.

Coping with Emotional Turmoil

Understanding the emotional upheaval following a  lung cancer diagnosis is crucial. Dr. Lori Paltchik emphasises the fluidity of emotions in such circumstances, urging acceptance and comprehension of these emotional surges.

Navigating Emotional Tides

Patients experiencing a traumatic event like a  lung cancer diagnosis should acknowledge the fluid nature of their emotions. Understanding these emotional waves is crucial, not just for patients but also for those supporting them. These narratives underline the resilience and hope found within stage 4 lung cancer adversity, demonstrating the transformative power of advancements in medical science and the unwavering spirit of individuals navigating through challenging circumstances.

Exploring Clinical Trial Opportunities

After aligning with her new reality, Colleen discussed potential treatment options for her lung cancer with her doctor, prompted by the identification of an ALK-positive biomarker—a type of mutation found in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC).

Clinical Trials: A Beacon of Hope

“When I got diagnosed, I felt that a stage 4 lung cancer clinical trial would offer me the best chance at survival,” expressed Colleen

Frontline Treatment in the Clinical Trial

Colleen’s initial line of treatment in the  lung cancer clinical trial included alectinib (Alecensa). This drug targets the ALK gene alteration.

Understanding the Significance of Trials

Studies exploring new treatment options are termed  lung cancer clinical trials, pivotal for two reasons:

  1. They aid doctors in better understanding and finding more effective ways to treat stage 4 lung cancer.
  2. They offer patients the opportunity to attempt therapies approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), potentially life-altering.

The Purpose and Potential of Trials

Dr. Beth Karlan, UCLA Health gynecologic oncologist, emphasises that  lung cancer clinical trials aim to take cancer research to a point where the disease becomes manageable, akin to conditions like diabetes.

The Impact and Possibilities

“It’s hoped that stage 4 lung cancer clinical trials can benefit you, but they’re also providing crucial information to the entire scientific community about the effects of these treatments,” Dr. Karlan stated.

A Successful Trial Recommendation


Stage 4 Lung Cancer: Celebrating Thanksgiving Against Odds - Remarkable Treatment Extending Life Beyond Expectations
Stage 4 Lung Cancer

“Luckily, his doctor was successful in recommending a stage 4 lung cancer clinical trial for him,” said [Dr. Heist]. “He gave me a realistic hope… You know, Colin? It’s your voice, and do you know what? Let’s find out how you’re going to use it. So, I began advocating for those newly diagnosed with  lung cancer, and it ultimately turned me into a research advocate,” they added.

The Role of Biomarker Testing

Biomarker testing assists patients with stage 4 lung cancer by determining tumour characteristics. Following a  lung cancer diagnosis, biomarker testing becomes imperative. It examines the tumour’s genes for abnormalities and specific protein levels. If doctors can identify what prompts the tumour’s growth, they may combine the best targeted therapies to diminish its progression.

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