Most practitioners today would agree that the term personalized cancer care includes molecular profiling that looks for a person’s genetic fingerprint of their tumor. This means that a biopsy of a patients tumor could contain genetic information that could potentially be used to reveal targets for newer therapies which can be lifesaving. Moreover , a biopsy could also be sent out for a chemosensitivity assay. As Dr. Ralph Moss says in his book, Customized Cancer treatment, when describing this assay, ” the effectiveness of drugs can be predicted and patients can be saved the time, expense, and adverse effects associated with the use of ineffective agents.
I would take this definition even further, suggesting that other factors, such as the degree of nutritional deficits, cachexia, immune deficiency, fatigue, and vitamin deficiencies, along with inflammation and angiogenesis, should all be ascertained and assessed before a personalized treatment plan goes into play. These issues are often underappreciated or ignored in many oncology offices and medical centers.
Many of the patients I have counseled have asked their clinicians for more personalized care, including molecular profiling, chemosensitivity assays, and integrative medicine. More often than not they were discouraged, turned down, and told that it wouldn’t do any good, it’s expensive, and not worth the effort. Don’t but into their pessimism. Should this happen to you, contact me.
Research shows that newer modalities , such as molecular profiling and other advanced testing, are beyond the training or expertise of some clinicians. They have been carefully trained to only approve treatments and/or diagnostic approaches that are included in the standard of care. So don’t be surprised if you don’t get your doctors approval right away. You may need to do your homework in order to persuade your doctor as to the benefits and efficacy of these modalities. But it is definitely worth your effort.
Again, it’s imperative that you, the patient, become informed, use cutting-edge tools/lifelines, and personalize your care. Your life depends upon it. We as a country, need to start giving cancer patients every known lifesaving tool available.These tools are here to use. The question is, Do we have the will to use them?