Cancer is one of the most deadly diseases. The American Cancer Society estimates that 610,000 Americans die from cancer every year. The traditional method of treating these cancers with chemotherapy and radiation can be hit or miss. There is a way to tell what type of treatment will be best for the type of cancer a patient has. The answer to giving the best medicine to the patient is genomic testing. It is already available in several cancer centers including

What is genomic testing? Genomic testing is the examination of the mutations that occur in a cancer cell. These mutations may be causing cancer to grow. Certain mutations also react differently to different drugs. With genomic testing, a doctor can match the patient with the right drugs to cure or manage their cancer symptoms. If nothing is readily available, this could help match the patient to clinical trials that may help the patient. Getting the right treatment can be lifesaving for a patient suffering from cancer.

There are already instances where knowing a cancers genomic makeup has helped people. Finding that proteins called Her2 receptors led to breast cancer growth led to the creation of Herceptin. This drug gets rid of this protein. Larotrectinib is another drug that targets certain things. This drug targets a genetic switch called TRK fusion. This drug has shown that patients including young children have responded well to this drug. The drug Keytruda can help patients with a high MSI stay in a long remission. Women with Ovarian cancer that has BRAC changes could benefit from s PARP inhibitor. All of these drugs can help patients if their doctor knows just what type of cancer that they are dealing with.

Lung Cancer is often screened to see if the cancer is mesothelioma or a different type. The treatment available differs depending on what type of lung cancer a patient has.

Another benefit of genomic testing is that it can help researchers find better tools and drugs to take care of cancer. The more data acquired from patients with cancer from different backgrounds the more information scientist have. The more information, the more connections they can make as to why certain cancers function the way that they do. Getting genomic testing not only benefits the patient but may benefit others later on.

It could be one of the reasons that NHS in England became the first health service in the world to offer routine genomic testing. The testing is currently available for those with cancer and other rare diseases. It is planned to extend to others, who have reactions to medications and as a screener for diseases such as Parkinson’s.

In America, genomic testing is only available at certain medical clinics. For those who have to depend on Medicare to help cover the cost of treatments, they will only help with testing after cancer has rejected other treatment, and hit stage four.

Genomic testing can help change the world for a patient suffering from cancer. Knowing what type of cancer there facing can help empower them with knowledge, as well as offer new medication to them. It is for these reasons that every cancer patient should have the option for this type of testing.