KENILWORTH, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--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 (NYSE:MRK), 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.
About Test. Talk. Take Action.
Test. Talk. Take Action encourages those impacted by NSCLC to make informed treatment decisions by learning about biomarkers and talking with their health care provider about biomarker testing.
Biomarkers are like pieces to a puzzle that give doctors a more well-defined picture of a patient’s lung cancer. In addition to being used to diagnose cancer, the results of a biomarker test can also help doctors make informed decisions about the most appropriate treatment for a patient. In NSCLC, doctors test for the biomarkers EGFR, ALK, ROS-1, and PD-L1 to inform a patient’s treatment path forward.
To learn more about comprehensive biomarker testing in NSCLC, visit www.TestTalkTakeAction.com.
About Bellamy Young
Acclaimed actress and singer Bellamy Young is currently starring in her award-winning role on one of Thursday night’s top-rated drama series. Young has appeared in several major television and film roles, including Criminal Minds, Dirty, Sexy, Money; CSI: Miami, Another World, We Were Soldiers and Mission Impossible: III, Night Stalker, and will star in the indie picture Offer & Compromise. Young recently released her debut album, Far Away So Close, a collection of contemporary covers influenced by her North Carolina roots. Her professional achievements include a Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress, in addition to numerous other honors throughout her career.
About the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation
The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) is one of the largest philanthropies (patient-founded, patient-focused, and patient-driven) devoted exclusively to eradicating Lung Cancer through research, early detection, education, and treatment. The Foundation’s goal is to work with a diverse group of physicians, organizations, industry partners, individuals, patients, survivors, and their families to identify solutions and make timely and meaningful change and turn lung cancer into a chronically managed disease by 2023. The ALCF was established on March 1, 2006 as a 501c(3) non-profit organization and has raised nearly $30 million for lung cancer research and related programs. For more information about the ALCF please visit http://www.lungcancerfoundation.org/ or follow ALCF on Facebook or Twitter.
About Free to Breathe
Free to Breathe, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was founded in 2001 and officially incorporated in 2003. Free to Breathe is a partnership of lung cancer survivors, advocates, researchers, health care professionals and industry leaders dedicated to doubling lung cancer survival by 2022. To ensure that surviving lung cancer is the expectation, not the exception, Free to Breathe focuses on funding research with the greatest potential to save lives, and building the lung cancer community. Our toll-free Support Line (844.835.4325) provides education, connection to local and national resources, and opportunities for meaningful engagement to help patients and caregivers facing lung cancer. For more information, visit http://www.freetobreathe.org. Free to Breathe is “Best Charities in America” certified.
About Lung Cancer Alliance
Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA), the highest rated lung cancer charity in the country, is committed to saving lives and accelerating research and policy while empowering people living with or at risk for lung cancer. LCA provides live, professional support, referral and information services to patients, their loved ones and those at risk for lung cancer; conducts national awareness campaigns attacking the stigma of the disease, spreading the word about risk and screening and educating those diagnosed about options and where to go for help; and advocates for multiple millions in public health dollars for lung cancer research.
About Lung Cancer Foundation of America (LCFA)
LCFA’s mission is the dramatic improvement in survivorship of lung cancer patients through the funding of transformative science, with the ultimate goal of curing the disease.
To accomplish this, LCFA will work to raise both the funds, and the national profile of lung cancer through their “30 Days 30 Ways” and “The Little Things” campaigns, in order to substantially increase support of innovative and groundbreaking research efforts. Learn more about the Foundation at www.lcfamerica.org/.
About The Lung Cancer Research Foundation
The mission of the Lung Cancer Research Foundation is to improve and save lives by funding groundbreaking research for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of lung cancer. To date, the Lung Cancer Research Foundation has funded hundreds of grants totaling $23 million across the spectrum of basic, clinical and translational research at leading medical institutions around the world.
About LUNGevity Foundation
LUNGevity Foundation is firmly committed to making an immediate impact on increasing quality of life and survivorship of people with lung cancer by accelerating research into early detection and more effective treatments, as well as by providing community, support, and education for all those affected by the disease. The Foundation collaborates with survivors, researchers, physicians, government agencies and corporate and nonprofit partners to meet the unmet needs of lung cancer patients and their families. LUNGevity's vision is a world where no one dies of lung cancer. For more information about LUNGevity Foundation, please visit www.LUNGevity.org.
Merck’s Focus on Cancer
Our goal is to translate breakthrough science into innovative oncology medicines to help people with cancer worldwide. At Merck Oncology, helping people fight cancer is our passion and supporting accessibility to our cancer medicines is our commitment. Our focus is on pursuing research in immuno-oncology and we are accelerating every step in the journey – from lab to clinic – to potentially bring new hope to people with cancer.
For 125 years, Merck has been a global health care leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.