Your health information is valuable. Here’s how it helps in research.
May 14, 2019
Your health information helps improve cancer treatment.
The medicines that doctors use to treat cancer have changed a lot just in the past 10 years. For example, some new treatments can trigger your own immune system to attack cancer in your body. Other new treatments work just as well as older, proven treatments, but with less side effects.
The science that leads to these treatments is also new. With cutting-edge technology, researchers can analyze a wide variety of information and data from many thousands of people with cancer to study the causes of cancer and find new treatments.
This is where we come in – we help researchers get the data they need to do cancer studies. We store the data and information that patients have agreed to share with us and grant access to researchers on our team. We call this system Total Cancer Care.
The kinds of information we collect
When people with cancer agree to join Total Cancer Care, we collect samples of their tissue, blood, and sometimes other body fluids such as urine.
Using these samples, we can study your DNA (the chemical code that your body uses to make every part of you) and also the DNA of the cancer in your body.
We also get access to your health and medical records, so we can see what cancer treatments or health problems you’ve had in the past, or what imaging tests showed.
How this information helps with research
Researchers can study this data and information in all kinds of ways. For example, they can combine data from DNA with information from medical records to study why a certain treatment worked well for some people, but not for others.
Studying data from hundreds of thousands of people with cancer allows researchers to ask new questions, such as:
- Why do some cancers come back after treatment, while others do not?
- What kinds of changes in your DNA (also called mutations) are linked with cancer?
- What causes some cancers to spread to other parts of the body very quickly?
The benefits of this research
Cancer care is getting better and better, and people with cancer are living longer, healthier lives, during and after treatment.
As a result of this research, doctors may be able to give patients the cancer treatment that is most likely to work, and treatments can be personalized for individual patients. Without health information and data from people with cancer, none of this would be possible.