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    Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) Treatment Options

    Exciting advancements are being made in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This form of cancer is still among the more deadly forms of this disease, but an increasing number of patients are living beyond five years after being diagnosed. This can be attributed not just to an improvement in traditional cancer therapies, but also the development of newer classes of cancer-fighting drugs. Here, we'll review the most effective forms of treatment used in the battle against non-small cell lung cancer. These options include targeted treatments, immunotherapy drugs, chemotherapy, biologic response modifiers and EGFR-blocking drugs. Read on to learn more about the top non-small cell lung cancer treatment options.

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    How do targeted treatments work?

    Targeted treatments for NSCLC are similar to chemotherapy in that they target and destroy cancer cells. Unlike chemotherapy drugs, though, targeted treatments are designed to target specific traits of cancer cells, limiting their tolls on the body and reducing side effects. Targeted therapies can be used alongside regular chemotherapy drugs.

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    What are examples of targeted therapy drugs?

    Two of the most common targeted therapy drugs are Xalkori and Zykadia. Xalkori is available in its generic form as crizotinib, and Zykadia is available in generic from as ceritinib.

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    How do immunotherapy drugs work?

    Immunotherapy drugs are newer in the battle against cancer, and they work by empowering the body's immune system to target and destroy cancer cells. These medications also cause fewer side effects than traditional lung cancer treatments.

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    What is a leading immunotherapy drug?

    Keytruda is one of the most promising immunotherapy drugs on the market. Available in its generic form as pembrolizumab, Keytruda was recently approved by the FDA to be used as an initial therapy for non-small cell lung cancer patients.

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    How do biologic response modifiers work?

    Biologic response modifiers are used in patients who are undergoing chemotherapy, and they boost the body's production of white blood cells to aid in the fight against cancerous cells. Neulasta, available in generic form as pegfilgrastim, is one such medication.

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    Is chemotherapy still a valuable form of treatment?

    Chemotherapy is still front and center in the fight against non-small cell lung cancer. Patients often undergo chemotherapy while undergoing other forms of treatment. Alimta, available in its generic form as pemetrexed, is a common type of chemotherapy. This type of treatment is associated with more serious side effects such as hair loss and nausea.

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    What are EGFR-blocking drugs?

    EGFR-blocking drugs interrupt a signal within cancer cells that is vital for their reproduction. By blocking these signals, the growth of tumors and the spread of cancerous cells can be slowed or temporarily stopped.

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    What is a newer EGFR-blocking drug?

    Tagrisso, available in generic form as osimertinib, is a new EGFR-blocking drug that can produce results after other drugs in this class have failed. EGFR blockers can lose their effectiveness as cancer cells mutate. One common mutation is the T790M mutation, and Tagrisso is designed to be effective despite that mutation.