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Seattle doctors make strides with new lung cancer treatment

TOTVO-TZ1A LUNG CANCER TREATMENT.transfer_frame_243.jpg
Seattle doctors make strides with new lung cancer treatment. (KOMO News)

SEATTLE -- Local doctors are making strides against the deadliest of all cancers-lung cancer.

It's a disease that strikes smokers and non-smokers alike. Now there is a push to diagnose and treat lung cancer in new ways.

When Randall Broad got his lung cancer diagnosis in 2008, it was presented as a death sentence.

"I was given a year," Broad said. "After the diagnosis, they said you probably have about a year, get your things in order."

Broad wound up on a clinical trial for a chemotherapy drug at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. The then-experimental therapy saved his life.

"It is now the standard of treatment for my disease," Broad said. "And that is the way Dr. Martins put it - it's tomorrow's treatment, today."

Those same researchers are now testing the next advance in lung cancer treatment - immunotherapy.

The immunotherapy technique harnesses a patient's own immune system to fight cancer.

Last month, Dr. Laura Chow presented findings from two immunotherapy trials with exciting results.

"There's actually very good three-year survival outcomes (with immunotherapy), where there is no three-year survivors in the chemotherapy group," Chow said.

Earlier diagnosis helps, so Seattle Cancer Care Alliance recently opened a wellness center to offer lung cancer screenings for people at a high risk.

Broad credits SCCA with saving his life after a diagnosis he never saw coming.

"It caught me off guard. It did. It caught me," Broad said. "There was no history in my family. Nobody was smokers."

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