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FDA approves expanded use of lung cancer drug

When a doctor gives you a diagnosis of cancer, your first thought is likely, "How long do I have to live?" For some forms of cancer, prognosis is good. You may be able to undergo treatments, like chemotherapy, that can leave you cancer-free and able to live out the rest of your life. But with some forms of cancer, the prognosis isn't so good.

Take for example lung cancer, particularly small cell and non-small cell lung cancer. These two main types of lung cancer can be extremely fatal. By the time a patient begins to exhibit symptoms, they may only have a year to live. It's because of its high mortality rate that these two types of lung cancer appear on the Social Security Administration's Compassionate Allowances list.

Though receiving a diagnosis for small cell and non-small cell lung cancer may have been a death sentence in years past, news this month gives hope to those living with these forms of lung cancer. For those of our New Jersey readers who have not heard yet, the Food and Drug Administration recently approved expanded use of a drug called Xalkori, which is used to treat non-small cell lung cancer in "patients who have a specific mutation of a gene named ROS1."

According to a report issued by Reuters this month, the drug blocks protein activity in non-small cell tumors, causing them to stop growing and spreading through a patient's body. By expanding the use of this drug, more patients may be able to benefit from the drug, giving them a better chance at surviving cancer than they would have in the past.

It's important to point out, however, that those who cannot afford the drug or those for whom the drug does not work, access to SSDI benefits may still be necessary in order to afford other treatments.

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