If you’ve been reading CancerHawk for a while, you know that I am a HUGE proponent of personalized medicine & biomarker testing or genetic profiling of tumors when possible. There’s a GREAT resource for information on biomarker testing from Cancer: It’s Personal. I love their Discussion Guide for intelligent questions to ask your doctor when discussing Biomarker Testing.
BTW, the 2 absolute most important questions to ask your Oncologist (in my opinion) are:
1. Are there any biomarker tests for my type of cancer?
2. Will you use this information to change the way my cancer is treated? Some Oncologists will NOT to use the learnings from these tests in determining the first treatment regimen, while others will.
Not all cancers have biomarkers, but when they do, doctors can use this information to guide treatments. It’s worth looking in to… Research your options & then discuss with your doctors… in fact, you may need to initiate the conversation about biomarker testing with your doctor. Don’t be afraid to take charge. BTW, it’s important to understand that even if your tumor has a known biomarker, it does not guarantee treatment success.
But Massachusetts General Hospital and MD Anderson Cancer Center are beginning to offer routine genetic profiling of tumors for every patient. If two of the leading cancer centers in the country are starting to do this, it must be worthwhile.