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Personalized Medicine & You

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Receiving a cancer diagnosis is an emotional time that is often scary, confusing, and Overwhelming; your life changes in many ways.

One of those changes is trying to learn new terms concerning your type of cancer, medical tests, and treatment options. For many patients and family members, it may seem as if the medical team is speaking an entirely different language, using words and acronyms that you’ve never heard before.

One of the terms you may come across is “Personalized Medicine.” In this section of our website, we will help you understand this increasingly used phrase and the important implications it may have for you and your treatment decisions.

What Exactly IS “Personalized Medicine”?

The overarching promise of personalized medicine is to optimize medical care and outcomes for each individual. It recognizes that the best treatments, medications and dosages, and preventive strategies may differ from person to person-resulting in customized patient care.1

Personalized medicine is about you, the patient, the healthcare consumer. It is a medical model in which treatment decisions are tailored to the individual patient.

The goal for personalized medicine is to:
  • Identify genetic differences that predict an individual’s possible side effects from a drug—does this patient have an increased risk of developing specific adverse effects with this
    drug treatment?
  • Develop genetic tests that predict an individual’s response to a drug—will this drug be effective for this patient?
  • Identify biomarkersdoes this patient have a biomarker that can diagnose, treat, or be used to monitor them?
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Human DNA may be approximately 99% similar across a population, yet just as with zebras, that remaining one percent allows us to each display our individual "stripes." The goal of personalized medicine is to treat “you.”

Personalized Medicine
Medicine &
Tissue Issues
Recently Diagnosed
Cancer 101

Important Background Information

If you are a patient advocate, a medical professional, or anyone who wants the details of the terms and science discussed below, please click here.

We have a large section on these details but have them available through a link to keep the content flowing for those newly diagnosed patients who are not interested in the science.



“Content Developed September 1, 2012”


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