Personalized Medicine: Don't Guess. Test | American Lung Association

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Personalized Medicine: Don't Guess. Test

(January 30, 2015)

Questions and Answers about Precision Medicine

Lung cancer treatment is getting personal. Personalized or precision medicine is an emerging approach to healthcare where treatment is more highly tailored to the biology of the patient. By studying genes, DNA and cells, researchers are developing tests that can more reliably detect disease and predict a person's response to specific drugs.

Targeted Therapy

Personalized medicine is a promising field in the treatment of lung cancer. Scientists are discovering more DNA alterations, or mutations, in lung cancer tumors which help determine more effective treatment.Targeted therapies are being developed that focus on addressing specific mutations in these cancer cells. Not only are these therapies often highly effective, but they also have fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy. Many of the DNA alterations already discovered in lung cancer tumors have been "matched" to targeted therapies that are either approved or recommended in treating the disease.

A Comprehensive Approach

In order to know which targeted therapy options may be appropriate for a patient's cancer, a physician must first understand which genomic alterations are driving the patient's cancer.

A comprehensive approach to genomic testing enables a physician to get a broad view of the mutations within the cancer and understand which targeted treatment might be available in a single test. Comprehensive genomic testing looks for all types of alterations in all the genes that are known to be associated with cancer. This gives physicians a fully informative genomic profile of a patient's unique tumor. This comprehensive approach saves time and precious tissue while enabling physicians to make better-informed treatment decisions and customize a patient's treatment plan.

Don't Guess. Test.

We are in an exciting time for cancer treatment, and patients have options that didn't exist just a decade ago. Without comprehensive genomic testing, patients may miss out on potentially life-saving treatment options. If you or someone you know has lung cancer, don't be left guessing if all treatment options have been explored. Ask your physician about comprehensive genomic profiling. The American Lung Association has partnered with the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and other lung cancer advocacy groups to tell people "Don't guess. Test."

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