No two people with cancer are exactly alike. Neither are their cancer tumors.
In the past, doctors believed that cancers that began in the same place in the body, such as the lungs or the breasts, were basically the same. Today, we know that not all types of cancer are the same disease – even when they begin in the same place. We call these cancer subtypes. Some cancer subtypes grow and spread fast. Others grow slowly. Some are easy to treat, while others are not. Some react significantly to certain treatments but not at all to others.
Unique treatments for unique cancers
Now that we know cancer is actually many different subtypes, we treat it differently. For example, rather than giving all patients with breast cancer the same treatment, researchers and doctors can now match a patient to a specific treatment for that subtype of cancer.
This is called precision medicine. It’s finding treatments that are tailored to the unique features of the cancer you have.
These treatments may work better and have fewer or less severe side effects compared to standard cancer treatments.
Patients are vital to finding these unique treatments
TCC is gathering data from many different patients with different types (and subtypes) of cancer. We then allow researchers and doctors to study this data to discover how cancer subtypes are different (called their “biological markers”). By understanding these differences, researchers and doctors can create and better match treatments to each cancer subtype. This is why it’s vital to partner with patients who are giving back to science by sharing their data and tissues to improve patient health, now and in the future.