KEYTRUDA for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

Questions to ask your doctor about lung cancer

When you have just been diagnosed with lung cancer, there will be a lot of thoughts and emotions going on. This can make it hard to remember everything you want to ask at your next appointment with the doctor, so we suggest you take a list.

Here are some basic questions to get you started.

  • What type of lung cancer do I have?
  • Where is the cancer located?
  • Has the cancer spread to other parts of my body?
  • What’s the cancer’s stage? What does that mean?
  • What are my chances of survival, based on what you know?
  • How much experience do you have treating this type of cancer?
  • Will I need other tests before we choose a treatment strategy?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What treatment do you recommend and why?
  • If I have surgery, how will I manage if I’m missing a lung or part of a lung?
  • What’s the goal of my treatment?
  • Should I get a second opinion? How do I do that?
  • Can I have a copy of my pathology report?
  • Should I think about taking part in a clinical trial?

And here are some questions once a treatment plan has been decided.

  • How does the treatment work?
  • How do I get this treatment?
  • How often will I get each treatment?
  • How long does each treatment take?
  • Where will I get treatment?
  • What are the roles of the treatment team?
  • After being on this treatment, will I be able to try other treatments?
  • How long will I be on this treatment?
  • What are the realistic goals for my treatment?
  • How will I feel during treatment?
  • How much is this treatment likely to help me?
  • How long before I know the treatment is working?
  • How will my treatment affect: – My work? – My ability to travel? – My family? – My sex life?
  • What are the most likely side effects?
  • What can I do to lower my chance of side effects with this treatment?
  • If I have side effects, what can I do to feel better?

Questions to ask your insurer about lung cancer

There are a number of ways to access treatments that are not funded by the government. These are outlined on the Access KEYTRUDA page. Below are a few questions you can ask your health, life or trauma insurance company if you’ve taken out a policy.

  1. Does my policy cover me for unfunded cancer treatment?
  2. Does my policy cover me for my entire course of treatment? If not, which aspects of my treatment am I covered for?
  3. How does it work exactly?


Who can you talk to?


How to access KEYTRUDA


KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) 50mg powder for infusion
KEYTRUDA is a Prescription Only Medicine Use: KEYTRUDA is used:
  • in the treatment of melanoma which cannot be removed by surgery alone or when it has spread to multiple sites in the body.
  • in the treatment of a kind of lung cancer called non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
  • in the treatment of classical Hodgkin Lymphoma (cHL)
  • in the treatment of urothelial carcinoma, including bladder cancer
  • in the treatment of a kind of head and neck cancer called head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC)

Side effects: Immune-mediated side effects including inflammation of the lungs, colon, liver, kidneys, pituitary gland, brain, eye, muscles, nervous system, pancreas, and heart, thyroid disorders, type 1 diabetes mellitus. Severe skin reactions including Steven-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis. Severe infusion reactions including hypersensitivity and anaphylaxis. Transplant recipients: rejection of a transplanted organ, graft-versus-host-disease (in people with a bone marrow transplant using donor cells). Very common side effects include diarrhea, nausea, itching, rash, joint pain, back pain, feeling tired, cough, patches of discoloured skin, stomach pain, decreased levels of sodium in blood. Tiredness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, shortness of breath, rash, itching, headache, hair loss, and, infections of the upper respiratory tract were reported when given in combination with chemotherapy. You may experience more than one side effect at the same time.

All medicines have risks and benefits. Talk to your doctor to see if KEYTRUDA is right for you. KEYTRUDA is a funded medicine for melanoma patients– restrictions apply. KEYTRUDA is an unfunded medicine for NSCLC, HNSCC, cHL and urothelial carcinoma patients. Ask your health professional the cost of the medicine and any other medical fees that may apply. Use only as directed and if symptoms continue or you have side effects, see your doctor, pharmacist, or health professional.

Based on data sheet prepared 17 July 2018. Marketed by: Merck Sharp & Dohme (New Zealand) Limited, Newmarket, Auckland. . For additional product information, consult the Consumer Medicine Information (CMI), available on request, phone 0800 500 673 or refer to the Medsafe website

This site is intended for New Zealand residents.

References to support this are available on request.

MSD recommends people always seek the medical advice of their healthcare professional.

Copyright © 2018 Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, New Jersey, USA. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2018 Merck Sharp & Dohme (New Zealand) Limited. Level 3, 123 Carlton Gore Road, Newmarket, Auckland. All rights reserved.

ONCO-1273154-0000 First Issued November 2017 TAPS NA10076 essence MSD8360

Updated: October 2018