What are the odds of finding an individual in Canada who does not know anyone battling cancer? Considering the amount of campaigns and awareness surrounding this condition the chances of this individual existing are extremely low.

That is the footprint of this disease and that is why communities come together to support one another and donate funding to cancer research.

Doctors and researchers have been working towards the goal of accurately diagnosing cancer as early as possible and delivering the best possible treatment to the patient as possible.

What has the research sector developed to minimize the cancer footprint?

Cancer was once thought of as a single disease that affected many different parts of the body. Now researchers know that every patient’s cancer is different, requiring different treatments – even for tumors of the same type of cancer. This means new technologies are required to accurately diagnose and effectively treat different types of cancer.

As researchers have identified that cancer manifests itself differently from patient to patient. This requires a treatment that is customized to the patient’s unique body response. What makes everyone different or in the case of identical twins so alike? The answer is genetics.

Genetic technology provides physicians with critical information on the patient’s unique body response. This technology can help in 2 ways:

    1. Determine probability of genetically linked cancers ahead of time, allowing for early diagnosis – part one of the goal of improving cancer treatment.
    2. If patient has been positively diagnosed, using genetic information to deliver a treatment option best suited to patient in a time-saving, cost-reductive manner – part two of the goal of improving cancer treatment.

This approach to delivering treatments specific to the patient is referred to as personalized medicine. Genetic testing is an accessible, efficient method for one to personalize their treatment options to ones that are most compatible with their body.

Personalized medicine will allow physicians to use new tools to identify characteristics of a tumor that are specific to each patient, and then tailor treatments to each patient’s specific form of disease. This will lead to improved treatment for patients with fewer side effects ultimately minimizing the cancer footprint.

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