Cancer treatments are rapidly evolving. Traditional chemotherapy targets rapidly replicating cells. This kills the cancer cells, but can also lead to side effects such as hair loss, nausea and vomiting because the hair cells and the cells lining the gastrointestinal tract also divide quickly.
In recent years, scientists have been designing targeted treatments that are designed to block pathways needed for cancer cells to replicate and survive. Many cancer cells have genetic mutations in them that drive tumor growth. If we can identify a driving mutation in a tumor, we can design treatments that shut down the pathway it uses to promote cell division and survival. This targeted approach often has fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy.
This personalized cancer therapy is very promising. We are committed to providing our patients the most up to date and cutting edge treatments available. We may talk to you about doing genetic testing of your tumor to see if you might benefit from targeted therapy.
Currently, many of the targeted treatments are available only through clinical trials, but some are already available as standard of care. We can help you find the best treatment options for you. If you have questions about personalized cancer treatments, please talk to your oncologist.