After Five Days Back to Life Thanks to Personalized Medicine
"Cancer" feels far removed for many of us. Nevertheless: Almost everyone has a personal and individual story —whether it is someone in their family, circle of friends or the neighborhood —about someone who has suffered from cancer. As a result, the varied fates of cancer patients suddenly become tangible. But medicine has made enormous advances in recent years that can make cancer a manageable chronic disease with a good quality of life. As is the case with Kerstin.
Millions of people develop cancer every year. Perhaps they come – like Kerstin – to the hospital with vague symptoms and maybe they – like in Kerstin’s experience – suddenly have an oncologist standing in front of them. The decisive factor is: as individual as the stories and paths are, so are cancers.
New treatment options thanks to personalized medicine
According to the motto "Know your enemies ", science has made enormous progress in the diagnosis and understanding of disease mechanisms. Therefore, oncological therapies can nowadays be tailored more and more to the individual characteristics of the patient's tumor. The prerequisite for this are so-called molecular diagnostic tests, which can be used to identify cancer-causing changes in the tumor's genetic make-up. This contrasts with conventional therapies such as chemotherapy, which is associated with severe side effects and not only kills cancer cells, but also kills many healthy cells at the same time. Emmanuelle di Tomaso, Head of Precision Medicine in Oncology at Bayer explains: “Advancements in genomics and the development of related precision therapies that pinpoint the genomic alteration driving a specific disease, are transforming clinicians’ approach to treatment.”
Thanks to such a tumor genome test Kerstin was able to be given a drug that was individually tailored for the genomic alteration that caused her tumor. After the therapy began, her doctor reported: “After just five days she was basically living an almost normal life.” And Kerstin says: “I can do everything that I want to do again. I'm just happy and grateful that it all worked out that way. And I would like to encourage other cancer patients to be persistent, not to give up and to request molecular testing.”
Innovation and research are key to success
Kerstin's story shows the importance of advances in personalized medicine. "With innovative diagnostics and therapy, we at Bayer work every day to continuously improve the lives and illnesses of cancer patients!" says Catrin Stern-Sträter, Head of Medical Affairs Oncology / Hematology and Cell and Gene Therapy at Bayer Vital.
Here you will find further information on personalized medicine and the future of patients with cancer.
Talk to your doctor about the treatment options
The advances in medicine and science are useless if the new opportunities do not reach the patient. Molecular genetic tests are not yet part of routine diagnostics. Therefore, it is important that you know about your condition and diagnostic and treatment options available so that you can discuss it with your oncologist. In addition to the information your doctor can provide, many medical societies and support groups can provide additional information about different types of cancer, diagnostic and treatment options, and support options. Also, keep your doctor's appointments and prepare for them. It often helps to take a close person with you, because two sets of ears are often better than one.