The Need for Additional Research to Develop Prognostic Tools

Despite many of the advances we have made in the treatment of cancer, we continue to lack the ability to identify and utilize good prognostic tools.  Not adequately understanding how to foresee both a person’s survival as well being able to predict, with confidence, their chance of responding positively to a treatment hampers our ability to offer the best treatments to the correct individuals.  

At this time we have been able to identify some factors that contribute to the variation in survival time as well as to treatment responsiveness.  These factors include:

1-   The clinical phenotype of the disease.

2-   The genetic mutations present.

3-   The presence of any co-morbidity issues.

4-   To what organs, if any, the cancer has spread.

5-   The amount of cancer burden at diagnosis and at the time of the commencement of treatment.

6-   The person’s performance status.

7-   The presence of and the level of certain biomarkers.

Despite our defining and understanding these predictive factors it is clear that there are many additional items we still need to explain.  We need to continue to investigate the already identified factors as well as expand our explorations to include discovering new prognostic tools. 

Joel T. Nowak, MA, MSW wrote this Post.  Joel is the CEO/Executive Director of Cancer ABCs.  He is a Cancer Thriver diagnosed with 5 primary cancers - Thyroid, Metastatic Prostate, Renal, Melanoma and a rare cancer, Appendiceal Cancer.