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10-08-2021 | Adis Journal Club | Article

Oncology and Therapy

What is the Definition of Cure in Non-small Cell Lung Cancer?

Authors: Helen Morgan, Libby Ellis, Emma L. O’Dowd, Rachael L. Murray, Richard Hubbard & David R. Baldwin 

Abstract

The concept of cure from cancer is important to patients, but can be difficult to communicate in terms that are meaningful. This is because there are a number of definitions of cure that are applied by clinicians, patients and the public, and by policymakers that have a different meaning and significance. In this article, we provide a narrative review of the evidence concerning cure in lung cancer and show how the different definitions may apply in different settings. A better understanding of the various concepts of cure will improve communication with patients on this important topic. This article is based on previously conducted studies and does not contain any new studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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Key Points

Defining cure is not easy, and patients, clinicians and policymakers use the term in different ways.
Despite the high mortality of non-small cell lung cancer, surgery and radiotherapy with curative intent can be offered if the disease is caught at an early stage.
Statistical cure of lung cancer occurs around 10 years after diagnosis.
Long term survival may be easier for patients to understand, and provide a more personalised prognosis.
Clearly explaining concepts like cure and survival are key in communication with patients.

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