There are new types of cancer treatment. Read more about precision medicine. Today, when people are diagnosed with cancer, they usually receive the same treatment as others who have same type and stage of cancer.
There are new types of cancer treatment. Read more about precision medicine. Today, when people are diagnosed with cancer, they usually receive the same treatment as others who have same type and stage of cancer. Even so, different people may respond differently, and, until recently, doctors didn’t know why.
What Do we Know About Cancer Treatment
Many Types of cancer treatment exists. The type of treatment a patient has strongly depends on the type of cancer and how advanced it is. Some people will gave one type of treatment others will have a combination of treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and/ or radiation therapy. Some patients may also have immunotherapy, targeted therapy, or hormone therapy. As you see, there is a myriad of possibilities for treatments and all depends on the type and stage of cancer. In some cases, clinical trials might be an option for the patient. Understanding all the available options for you, may help ones making an informed decision you feel good about.
Types of Cancer Treatment
When used to treat cancer, surgery is a procedure in which a surgeon removes cancer from your body. Learn the different ways that surgery is used against cancer and what you can expect before, during, and after surgery.
Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Learn about the types of radiation, why side effects happen, which ones you might have, and more.
Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Learn how chemotherapy works against cancer, why it causes side effects, and how it is used with other cancer treatments.
Targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment that targets the changes in cancer cells that help them grow, divide, and spread. Learn how targeted therapy works against cancer and about common side effects that may occur.
Hormone therapy is a treatment that slows or stops the growth of breast and prostate cancers that use hormones to grow. Learn about the types of hormone therapy and side effects that may happen.
Stem cell transplants are procedures that restore blood-forming stem cells in cancer patients who have had theirs destroyed by very high doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Learn about the types of transplants, side effects that may occur, and how stem cell transplants are used in cancer treatment.
Cancer Treatment and Precision Medicine
Today, when people are diagnosed with cancer, they usually receive the same treatment as others who have the same type and stage of cancer. Even so, different people may respond differently, and, until recently, doctors didn’t know why. After decades of research, scientists now understand that patients’ tumors have genetic changes that cause cancer to grow and spread. They have also learned that the changes that occur in one person’s cancer may not occur in others who have the same type of cancer. And, the same cancer-causing changes may be found in different types of cancer.
Precision medicine helps doctors select treatments that are most likely to help patients based on a genetic understanding of their disease. In Precision Medicine, patients that share the same genetic changes (mutations) receive the same medicine or treatment. Using those genetic changes, health care providers can provide more precise treatment is known as precision medicine.
The Promise of Personalized or Precise Medicine
Precision medicine hopes that treatments will one day be tailored to the genetic changes in each person’s cancer. Scientists see a future when genetic tests will help decide which treatments a patient’s tumor is most likely to respond to, sparing the patient from receiving treatments that are not likely to help. Research studies are going on now to test whether treating patients with treatments that target the cancer-causing genetic changes in their tumors, no matter where cancer develops in the body, will help them. Many of these treatments are drugs known as targeted therapies. There are drugs that have been proven effective against cancers with specific genetic changes and are approved by the FDA.
Precision Medicine as a Treatment Approach
Even though researchers are making progress every day, the precision medicine approach to cancer treatment is not yet part of routine care for most patients. Many new treatments designed to target a specific change are being tested right now in precision medicine clinical trials Some clinical trials are accepting patients with specific types and stages of cancer. Others accept patients with a variety of cancer types and stages. To be eligible for precision medicine trials, the patient’s tumor must have a genetic change that can be targeted by a treatment being tested.
Personalized Medicine Does Not Yet Apply to Everyone
If there is a targeted drug or other treatment approved for your type of cancer, the patient will likely be tested to see if the genetic change targeted by the treatment is present in his or her cancer. For instance, people with melanoma, some leukemias, and breast, lung, colon, and rectal cancers usually have their cancers tested for certain genetic changes when they are diagnosed. Since additional genetic changes that can drive cancer may occur over time, you might also have your cancer tested if it comes back or gets worse. If there is not an approved targeted treatment for your type of cancer, you still may be tested for genetic changes. For instance, your cancer may be tested to see if you can join a precision medicine clinical trial.
Precision Medicine Research Moving Forward
Researchers have not yet discovered all the genetic changes that can cause cancer to develop, grow, and spread. But, they are making progress and discover new changes every day. Information from this research is being collected in databases where researchers from across the country can access the data and use them in their own studies. This sharing of data helps move the field of precision medicine forward. Researchers are also working to understand and solve the problem of drug resistance that can limit how well targeted therapies work. Many researchers believe that precision medicine is the key to unlocking these secrets.
“Precision Medicine in Cancer Treatment was originally published by the National Cancer Institute. ”Updated: October 3, 2017