Acclaimed actress and singer Bellamy Young lost her father to lung cancer, and she is now sharing her personal experience as part of Test. Talk. Take Action., a new awareness campaign focused on increasing people’s understanding of biomarkers and the role they play in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
The campaign – led by Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, in partnership with Young and leading lung cancer advocacy groups – encourages those impacted by NSCLC to learn about biomarkers and talk with their health care provider about testing.
Biomarkers, substances that can be found in cancer cells, give doctors a more well-defined picture of a patient’s lung cancer. In addition to being used to diagnose cancer, testing for biomarkers can help doctors make informed decisions about the most appropriate treatment for a patient’s lung cancer. There are several different biomarkers that can be used to plan treatment in NSCLC. These include EGFR, ALK, ROS-1, and PD-L1.
“One of the most important parts of the lung cancer journey is becoming informed about what you and your loved ones are facing,” Young explained. “When my Pop was diagnosed with lung cancer, we felt helpless and confused. At the time, I just wanted more resources to help us understand and manage his treatment and care.”
Leading lung cancer patient advocacy groups supporting the program include Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, Free to Breathe, Lung Cancer Alliance, Lung Cancer Foundation of America, Lung Cancer Research Foundation, and LUNGevity. These organizations have made it their mission to support people impacted by lung cancer through education, resources and research.
Young knows firsthand what people with lung cancer and their loved ones are going through; her father went through 10 months of treatment before he passed away from the disease.
She added, “I’m honored to be a part of a campaign that is designed to provide people impacted by NSCLC with information that can help empower them to make informed treatment decisions. I encourage patients and their loved ones to visit www.TestTalkTakeAction.com to get the facts about biomarker testing and start a new dialogue with their health care providers about the next steps in their treatment.”
Lung Cancer and the Role of Biomarker Testing
Lung cancer, which forms in the tissues of the lungs, usually within cells lining the air passages, is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. The two main types of lung cancer are non-small cell and small cell. NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for about 85 percent of all cases.
Thanks to advancements in lung cancer research, doctors have found that every lung cancer is different and that they can use biomarker testing to uncover some of the characteristics of a patient’s cancer. Biomarker testing is now widely recommended in NSCLC and by testing, doctors can use the information to plan the best treatment path forward for a patient.
“Everyday scientists are learning more and more about lung cancer, including how biomarker testing can play an increasingly important role in the care of people with NSCLC,” said Dr. Suman Bannur Rao, medical oncologist at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. “The results of biomarker testing can provide critical information that enables us to determine the specific treatments that are more likely to work for a patient.”
“At Merck, we’re committed to helping patients affected by lung cancer, which includes developing resources to increase understanding about this disease,” said Jill DeSimone, senior vice president, Merck Oncology. “We are excited to work with the lung cancer community and Bellamy Young on Test. Talk. Take Action. and hope that through education, we can help inspire patients to be their own health care advocate by talking with their doctor about biomarker testing and making informed treatment decisions.”
To learn more about comprehensive biomarker testing in NSCLC, including PD-L1, talk to your doctor, and visit www.TestTalkTakeAction.com.