How can endometrial cancer patients access the most personalized treatment approach for their individual disease? This animated video reviews key treatment considerations, the impact of biomarker test results on therapy options, and advice for engaging in care decisions.
Endometrial cancer research is evolving quickly, leading to targeted treatment approaches and helping patients access more personalized care.
So, what is personalized medicine? Personalized medicine – also called precision medicine – is a type of care that is based on the genetic makeup and individual characteristics of a patient’s disease.
This information is gathered using biomarker testing, which identifies key markers such as genes, proteins, or other molecules in a sample of tissue, blood, or other bodily fluid. The results of this testing can give a more detailed picture of the tumor’s type, aggressiveness, and may help predict how the cancer will behave.
The test results can also identify which treatment approach may be most effective, through the presence of certain molecular markers. For example, if biomarker testing results reveal that a tumor has either high microsatellite instability (MSI high) or mismatch repair defects (dMMR), an endometrial cancer patient may benefit from immunotherapy.
Or, if the results show the HER-2 or mTOR mutation, this could indicate that the disease may respond well to a targeted therapy. And the presence of estrogen or progesterone receptors in a patient’s tumor may suggest hormonally targeted therapies may be beneficial.
In addition to biomarker test results, other factors that physicians consider when recommending a treatment approach include:
- A patient’s age, overall health, and any pre-existing conditions.
- The type, stage, and grade of endometrial cancer.
- And the patient’s preference.
When considering treatment, patients should discuss the pros and cons of each option with their doctor. And they should review potential side effects, understand how the treatment is administered, and how the therapy may impact their lifestyle.
So, what steps can YOU take to access personalized care?
- Find out if your doctor has experience treating endometrial cancer. Consulting a specialist or getting a second opinion can help confirm your diagnosis and treatment plan.
- Next, request all essential testing, including biomarker testing, and discuss how the results may impact prognosis and therapy options.
- You should also ensure that you understand ALL of the treatments available to you – including clinical trials.
- And, make sure to have a friend or loved one present during discussions, so you can talk about the information later and feel confident in your decisions.
- Finally, don’t hesitate to share your opinion and ask questions about available options. Remember, YOU should be at the center of your endometrial cancer care.
To learn more about endometrial cancer and to access tools for self-advocacy, visit powerfulpatients.org/endometrial