What is personalized or precision medicine?
Personalized medicine is a new way to find the right treatment for each patient based on the person's genes (or the genes in their cancer cells).
One approach in personalized medicine is genomic tumor testing. This testing uses information from the genes in your cancer cells to help doctors put together a plan for care that usually involves very specific information. Test results show which treatment is likely to work best for you based on your specific cancer and the genes in your cancer cells.
This approach is a change from the past. For example, years ago, everyone with stage three lung cancer received the same treatment. It probably included some combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Today, doctors know more about cancer, including what causes cancer to grow and divide uncontrollably. Doctors are now able to use information about what’s going on inside cancer cells to learn the best way to treat the disease.
There are many terms doctors may use when creating a personalized approach to treating your cancer. They might not use the exact words "personalized medicine" or "precision medicine." Instead, they might talk to you about genetic, genomic, DNA, or molecular testing. Or they might discuss looking for biomarkers or getting a genetic profile.
Personalized medicine is only available for certain types and stages of cancer at this time, but many personalized therapies are currently being studied in clinical trials and may be available for more cancer types in the future.