Healthcast: Inoperable lung cancer treatment

Doctors told a man diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer that his only hope was an experimental treatment. 

It’s something called immuno-therapy, drugs that stimulate the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. 

Robert Scoenbauer suffered from a lingering cough for weeks. 

Doctors thought it was a cold, but when it did not go away, scans showed something frightening: inoperable lung cancer. 

“I think immunotherapy is the future,” said Schoenbauer’s oncologist Dr. Stephen Liu. “I think that partnering with our body is a much more powerful strategy than chemotherapy alone.”

He said patients undergoing immunotherapy get a series of drug infusions specific to their disease. 

Those medications work to stimulate the immune system so that the body can destroy their disease. 

“Engaging our immune system, we can have responses that can be much more durable with minimal side effects,” Liu said. 

Visiting the infusion center, Scoenbauer’s nurses are like old friends. They affectionately call him “The King” and gave him a crown to wear during treatments. 

Scoenbauer underwent immunotherapy infusions every week for three months. 

Just weeks after he started, scans showed his tumors shrinking. 

No one knows what the future holds for Scoenbauer, but there’s a good chance he is cured, because his immune system should now have the ability to fight the cancer if it recurs.