Ask around: most people have at least heard of the term ‘personalized medicine’ at some point or another. However, when it comes to what ‘personalized medicine’ actually entails and just how it can affect you, well, personally– thorough comprehension becomes less common. Continue reading below for a little bit about what personalized medicine really is and how its critical benefits for cancer treatment make it worthy of being understood as a household concept.

What is personalized medicine, briefly?

Perhaps it is somewhat obvious, but personalized medicine is a method of medicine specifically tailored to a specific individual’s bodily needs as opposed to a more general “one size fits all” administration of medicine.

When it comes to health and medicine, one size never fits all. Everybody has different needs, different quirks. Some bodies will respond better to certain practices or medications than others, even for the same illness. Personalized medicine takes these differences into consideration and promotes the practice of analyzing patients case-by-case to determine what may react best with their body.

Is personalized medicine a new concept?

Not at all. As greater research and new technologies develop however, it is only logical that better means of understanding and applying personalized medicine would in turn also grow.

Does personalized medicine only recommend different forms of medicine as viable treatment options?

Personalized medicine extends far beyond the realm of pills or vaccinations. Because personalized medicine addresses patients on an individual level, there is a greater focus on how other things in the patient’s life may help or hinder their recovery. These holdups could range everywhere from diet to mental health, and the practice of personalized medicine will respond accordingly.

How can personalized medicine be applied to cancer treatment?

When you hear of a cancer diagnosis, what is the first treatment that comes to mind? Likely, it’s the buzzword ‘chemotherapy‘. While chemotherapy is an adequate remedy for some, it is not the ideal first step in treatment for all. Personalized medicine can help to determine more suitable methods by analyzing how, for example, a body’s immune system might respond to another form of medicine; immunotherapy, which triggers the patient’s own immune system to fight against cancer, is just one of these more personalized alternatives. By avoiding the trial and error style of more general medicine application, personalized medicine is helping to absolve cancer patients of unnecessary expenses and unnecessary extensions of pain.