Getting an accurate diagnosis is important, so your doctor will make sure that you have various tests to find out as much about your cancer as possible. That way, you and they can work together to create the best possible treatment plan for you.
Tests to see if you have a change in your RET gene will include a biopsy – you can learn more about these here.
You can learn more about how changes to your genes can cause cancer here.
Many people wonder what their prognosis is when thinking about what it means to have RET+ NSCLC. However, it can be hard for a doctor to give an exact amount of time, as cancer is a complex disease that can be affected by many different factors. These include:
It’s worth being aware that RET+ NSCLC is considered more aggressive than some other forms of NSCLC21 – around half of all people who have advanced RET+ NSCLC (cancer that has spread, or ‘metastasised’, around the body) will get the cancer growing in their brain.9 With regular chemotherapy, about half of people with advanced NSCLC pass away within 2–3 years of their diagnosis.22
However, research has led to the discovery of modern treatments called ‘RET inhibitors’, which are specifically designed to treat RET+ NSCLC.5
These RET inhibitors are relatively new, but early clinical trials have shown that the tumours of most people who take a RET inhibitor start shrinking – including tumours in the brain.23,24