Advances in precision medicine are taking place at an unprecedented rate. Precision medicine is defined by the NIH as "an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person." This approach will allow the development of screening, treatment and prevention strategies for a particular disease that will optimize outcomes for individual patients. This is in contrast to a more traditional, one-size-fits-all approach, where disease treatment and prevention strategies are developed for the “typical” patient, with less consideration for the differences between individuals.
Genetic testing is a rapidly evolving component of precision medicine with the potential to guide individual patient care. Multiple tumor types in different organ systems have now been identified as sharing similar genetic features with many being inherited through the germ line. Recognizing these features may increase the likelihood of identifying familial or hereditary cancer syndromes that may impact the individual or family members’ screening strategies or direct treatment with specific targeted agents.
The message for our registry community is that we have a powerful tool, CRStar, that allows us to capture these data which may not be collated anywhere else in the patient’s cancer journey. Working with clinical colleagues, cancer registrars can maximize the power of our cancer registry and lead the effort to assure that modern genomic and genetic characteristics are archived.