The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a new treatment for lung cancer patients diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This latest immunotherapy agent, Opdivo (nivolumab), was developed by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and has been proven to extend survival in NSCLC patients that have been previously treated with chemotherapy. This approval was based onclinical trial results that found a 40% decreased risk of death for those receiving the drug.

Lung cancer is the leading cancer cause of death in men and women in the United States, and will account for 27% of all cancer deaths this year. In 2015 alone, another 221,000 cases of lung cancer are expected to be diagnosed.

While smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, occupational exposure to carcinogens like asbestos, diesel exhaust and silica increase one’s risk for developing lung cancer.

As its name implies, Immunotherapy uses the body’s immune system to fight cancerous tumors. Generally, the body’s defenses are kept in check from attacking its own cells. Since cancer cells are the body’s own cells, the immune system fails to recognize them as foreign or dangerous and does not attack them.Immunotherapy acts to free the body’s immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells.

Immunotherapy drugs are currently being tested in clinical trials around the country for various other cancers including, kidney cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and mesothelioma.

Only your doctor can determine what course of treatment is right for you. Be sure to discuss all of your occupational exposures with your doctor to help him or her obtain a proper diagnosis and treatment.

If you or a loved one are a current or former railroad worker diagnosed with cancer, please contact us to discuss your legal rights.