Understanding the patient’s perspective: improving communication between the cancer patient and the oncologist
Precision oncology now encompasses precision immunotherapies, informatics, targeted therapies, and cellular engineering based on next generation sequencing and genomic profiling. Anti-cancer drugs are being rapidly developed, tested and approved by the FDA in an expedited effort to get the drugs to as many patients as possible in the shortest and safest timeframe. However, cancer is an insidious multifaceted group of diseases that are capable of adapting to harsh microenvironments and acquiring resistance to therapies. Immunotherapies have made a significant and positive impact on survival and quality of life in some patients. Even so, resistance is an issue with these therapies. Therefore, combinations of therapeutics to attack multiple cancer signaling pathways are often times more effective than a single drug treatment. This is all very promising, but what is really happening with the patient? First, even though, we, as scientists, think we are making great progress, being diagnosed with cancer is an extremely scary scenario. It’s important to think about the patient’s perspective.