Has your oncologist ever talked to you about personalizing your cancer treatment? In other words, has he or she looked at unique aspects of your case, and tailored the treatments accordingly?

Of all of the various medical specialties, oncology tends to be among the least personalized. All patients with a certain type of cancer typically receive the same treatment. If that doesn’t work, they will receive the next best – or second-line – treatment. This has been referred to by some critics as “cookbook medicine.” Sadly, there is some truth to that criticism.

As an integrative oncologist, I believe that treatment should be tailored to each patient as much as possible. This means that we must first peel back the various layers of each patient’s diagnosis before making treatment decisions. The type of cancer is certainly important, there are many additional details which should be used to guide treatment as well.

We must also evaluate each patient’s unique health history, family history, work history, relationships, and stressors as well. Every detail matters when crafting the optimal treatment protocol for each patient. This is what personalized medicine is all about!

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