What is personalized cancer treatment?
No two cancers are identical. That’s why even patients with the same type of cancer may respond differently to the same treatment. Personalized or precision medicine is an emerging area of cancer care that uses as much information as possible to help guide cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. To help guide treatment decisions, many doctors now request molecular profiling of your tumor to learn more about the tumor and its mutations.
At HCA Midwest Health, we are part of the Sarah Cannon Cancer Network, which is implementing the latest technology and resources to advance personalized medicine for patients. When appropriate, we work with premier labs to quickly and broadly analyze your cancer cells. By doing this, we can identify cell mutations that may be matched with certain targeted therapies to provide a more effective treatment for your specific type of cancer. In some cases, this might be a new drug or therapy. For some cancers, chemotherapy or radiation might work best by themselves or when paired with a new drug or therapy. Treatments that are more effective and more personalized are here, but sometimes they look like what you have heard about for years, such as chemotherapy.
For example, some breast cancer tumors (about 20 percent of them), have a protein called HER2, which makes them grow more quickly. Several specialized drugs have been developed that target this protein and stop the tumor from growing. For tumors with the HER2 protein, this targeted therapy drug works. For tumors that don’t have the protein, the drug does not help. That is a simple example of molecular profiling.
Every bit of information gives us detail for a more personalized treatment plan. Your cancer is personal and we strive to make your treatment personal, too. For more information, speak to a registered nurse by calling askSARAH at (816) 448-7737 or contact a hospital near you.