Precision Medicine Offers Promise of Beating Cancer
By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ Jun 08, 2016
Traditional cancer treatment therapies, like chemotherapy or radiation therapy, attack cancer cells while simultaneously attacking other cells in the body. While the treatments can be effective, they often are also extremely harmful to a body, resulting in a host of health complications.
Now, a new way of treating cancer may be on the horizon: precision medicine. In fact, President Obama recently announced a $215 million precision medicine initiative, calling the initiative the first steps in “a new era in medicine,” according to an article in Philly.com.
What Is Precision Medicine?
Precision medicine is unique in that, like its name implies, it is precise; it targets a tumor’s specific set of mutations. The concept encompasses multiple therapy types, all of which may take in an individual’s genetic background, lifestyle, or/and environment.
For example, one type of precision medicine may be changing a patient’s gut microbiome, in order to help the patient’s body combat cancer and have a better response to cancer therapies, via fecal transplants. Combining traditional therapies with new therapies, like fecal transplants, may result in more effective methods of beating cancer.
Preventing Cancer Still Most Important
While precision medicine is certainly offering promise when it comes to beating cancer, cancer experts agree that prevention is still the most important thing. To reduce the risk of developing cancer, a person should avoid tobacco, exercise on a regular basis, maintain a healthy weight, seek certain vaccinations (like the HPV vaccine), and maintain a healthy diet. Further, limiting exposure to certain chemicals found in common household products – like cleaning products, plastics, beauty products, etc. – may also help to lower cancer risk. People should also seek regular cancer screenings in order to improve chances of catching cancer in its earliest stages.
The Challenges of Treating Cancer
Cancer is incredibly challenging to treat, especially when not discovered early on. The director of the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, Chi V. Dang, described treating cancer as a game of Whac-a-Mole: “You think you got it, and then it appears somewhere else.” Precision medicine may help to combat that challenge.
Catching Cancer Early, Treating it Properly
There are not words enough to stress the importance of catching cancer early on and treating it using appropriate methods. However, for too many patients in the United States, this is not the case; their doctors fail to order proper cancer screenings, or fail to recognize cancer when it does appear in a lab or screening result. In addition to a failed diagnosis, many patients receive improper cancer treatments, allowing their tumors to grow and ultimately making the cancers more dangerous.
At the law firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., our experienced New Jersey and Pennsylvania injury attorneys are passionate about staying abreast of cancer research, as well as advocating for those patients whose cancers proliferate due to physician negligence. If you think that you may have a claim, please do not hesitate to call our offices for a free case consultation. You can reach us today to learn more by calling (215) 567-3500.