Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Personalized Medical Care

I find this very interesting. There has been lots of talk of the 'one-size-fits-all' route that traditionally has been the route oncologists have taken to treat cancer. Now, the first step to personalizing medical care is underway. Mass General will begin using genetics to personalize medical care. From what I understand (and I am a mere patient), if you go to MGH and are diagnosed with a new cancer, they will do all kinds of genetic testing on it and primarily look at the cancer's genetic make up instead of where it occurs in your body to determine the course of treatment. The theory being why give someone expensive treatment with nasty side effects if it isn't doing much good.

On one hand, this sounds great. They will look at you specifically and say your cancer should respond to this and this but not to that and that so we will give you these and not those. Very cool. But on the other hand, will insurance pay for the tests? Will your genetic make up then be stored in some giant big brother type of database? Right now doctors go by best guess. They look at your cancer and say 90% of the people with this kind respond to this kind of treatment. If it doesn't work, they go on to the next drug. But you can basically become a chemistry experiment while they try to figure it out. Since they don't know what causes cancer, it is not as easy to treat as you might think.

I think that if I am (un)lucky enough to have any more cancer diagnoses, I know what I want for the first round of testing. Enough of this crap shoot medical treatment for me!

Now in the meantime, yesterday we got another little bitty snow storm. About 10". Plenty, thanks. We're all set. No more needed. And its very frustrating because I really, really, really, really want to go skiing. But will settle with snow shoeing. Grr, grr, grr. I also was very productive at home and got lots of work done.

Today, I have PT (and I'll be sure to tell you all how it goes), meeting a friend for snow shoeing and going to my support group where I am bringing a chocolate cake to celebrate a friend's retirement. Chocolate is required to celebrate things like this. Maybe I'll get some work done as well. Maybe I'll just waste time on line. My new time wasting website is www.jacksonpollack.org. Warning, you may be there for hours.

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