Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I Often Ask Myself

As a six year ovarian cancer survivor I often ask myself these questions.
" What makes my cancer different from other women with the same type ovarian cancer?"
" Why have I responded so well to the chemotherapy treatments?"
"Why have so many other women I have come to know during these past six years with the same type and grade of ovarian cancer been unable to go into remission and pass away from the disease"

I know that ovarian cancer is not one disease but that it has many types and subtypes. Some ovarian cancer is cause by a broken pathway , some by genetic mutation and some by ways we are just learning about. I know a lot about my disease , stage , tumor grade,tumor type , whether or not I am estrogen positive or negative, whether or not I am progesterone positive or negative, whether or not I am Her-2 positive or negative. I also have had genetic testing and know whether or not I am BRCA1 or BRCA2 positive or if I carry the gene for Lynch syndrome or colon cancer. How many of my readers (survivors or caregivers) know that information about their tumors or genetic background?I know a few ways my care has been different because of this information.

As the state of medicine changes and we learn more about the causes and treatments of different cancers and pathways to cancer development maybe we should all be asking these questions. There are some who are taking the lead on a more personalized approach to medicine. Here are two I recently learned about . ( If you know of others please leave a comment and let me know about them.)

The first, a GE Healthcare-sponsored website, www.IsMyCancerDifferent, was launched on Sept 19. Through videos and downloads they are educating others about the benefits of asking for more personalized cancer treatment.

The second is called Cancer Commons. Their goal is an "open science initiative for physicians, scientists, and patients engaged in personalized oncology. Its goals are to: 1) give each patient the best possible outcome by individualizing their treatment based on their tumor’s genomic subtype; 2) learn as much as possible from each patient’s response, and 3) rapidly disseminate what is learned in time to help the next patient." .

I suggest that you visit these sites to learn more.

Every Day is a Blessing!

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