The promise of precision medicine is becoming a reality as more doctors bring individualized therapies to the bedside. You or a family member could benefit if you suffer from illnesses such as cancer or heart disease. This approach might also help detect a rare undiagnosed disease or a genetic condition. Individualized medicine is the concept that prediction, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention can be targeted to your individual needs based on your genetic profile, environment, and lifestyle.
But how do you seek these individualized therapies? It starts with a conversation with your doctor. The Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine offers the following tips on how to talk to your doctor about individualized medicine therapies:
Ask whether applying genetic testing might improve ways of predicting, diagnosing, and treating your condition.
If you are having trouble with medications, ask your doctor if a type of DNA testing known as pharmacogenomics testing could identify treatments that are safer and work better with your genetic makeup.
For cancer patients, ask if having your DNA sequenced would provide doctors molecular information to improve treatment plans.
Ask if the DNA testing results can be integrated into your electronic health record, so all medical providers can access this data and coordinate your care.
This article was adapted from information provided by Mayo Clinic.