Nonsmokers under age 40 diagnosed with lung cancer, represent about 1% of all cases. With such small numbers, most doctors assumed there was little hope. When oncologists Barbara Gitlitz at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and Geoffrey Oxnard at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute examined this little studied group, they found a very different story. About 80% of the patients showed genetic mutations that were targetable with known treatments. The finding has given hope where little existed and points to a potentially powerful new technique to examine any number of cancer sub-populations.
For more remarkable stories from the 2019 Winners of the Cancer Community Awards, visit our Heroes of Cancer Care collection.