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The Goals of Survivorship and Promises of Precision Medicine

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Published on March 6, 2017

In this replay from the 2017 ASCO survivorship meeting in San Diego, Patient Power catches up with Director of Oncology, Treasa McPherson, of UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. Treasa McPherson is not only an administrative director and researcher, but also a patient and care partner. Listen as Treasa discusses what she believes is promising about precision medicine and her thoughts on testing lung cancer patients.

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Transcript | The Goals of Survivorship and Promises of Precision Medicine

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That's how you’ll get care that's most appropriate for you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Treasa McPherson:

There is a lot of work that still needs to be done. I think that in the past, we have gone all out. We have done whole genome sequencing on the tumor. We have done whole genome sequencing on the patient. We have done entire families, and big cohorts. I think, after all of that comparison, sometimes we find things that are slam dunks, and other times we just find out that we don’t know a lot, even more than we thought we didn’t already know. 

I think there is a lot of promise that eventually we will be able to narrow things down for folks.I think a more targeted approach is a fair idea, especially for now. I am on the International Cancer Genome Consortium, and I serve as a patient advocate for that. One of the things that we deal with is incidental findings, and that is an international process. 

So finding ways of letting patients know, all over the world, and getting through their laws and the things that are appropriate for their patients to learn. Some countries don’t want their patients to know anything. Other countries, like us, are prepared to give the results out, as long as the results go back to their physician. So whether their physician is the oncologist, or a PCP, as long as the physician is there and maybe a genetic counselor is there to help explain it, I think that is going to be a pretty good thing.

I don’t think it is precise in any areas right now. There are panels of 30 or 100 genes that we can look at and say these are cancer genes, and are they going to affect change in the way a patient is treated. In those cases, it is fantastic, but we are just not far enough along yet to be able to change enough standard of care right now, but I think we will be.

Well, I am an advocate for clinical trials for everybody. Any patient that walks through a door, that there is a clinical trial. I completely advocate for clinical trials. I think that people that can have testing, that can afford it, or if it is ever a time where the testing is affordable, then I think absolutely, because it will only serve to help down the road.

 

Eventually, when standard of care does change, and you can now tailor a care for a person’s particular needs, and we did it with pancreas cancer and patients that came in with Ashkenazi Jew heritage and a BRCA-positive, we were able to tailor their chemotherapy and have better outcomes, significantly better outcomes. So I think that is what is happening and coming down the road, it is just not happening as fast as everybody wants it to.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.