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Please make sure you have your extended pathology report handy, as you will need this information to answer some of the questions.
If you have undergone genomic profiling (also known as next-generation sequencing [NGS] testing) of your cancer, your testing report will also be helpful. NGS testing may help detect gene mutations that may be driving your cancer’s behaviour and may help you and your treating oncologist make decisions about the types of treatment that could be recommended for your cancer. NGS testing allows for rapid and accurate sequencing of many genes at once, utilizing the genetic material (either DNA or RNA) in the patient’s tumour.
Patients may access this test through a clinical study at their cancer centre, gain access to a paid test through a pharma-sponsored program, or may choose to pay out of pocket to have their tumour profiled. These tests are becoming more readily available and are capable of analyzing smaller samples for a wide array of genetic mutations in one panel. NGS testing may be helpful once standard-of-care therapies have been exhausted for the stage IV patient, or patients may proceed to a clinical trial based on the identification of a genetic mutation from the results of the NGS testing.
Oncologists require as much data as possible to develop and execute the optimal treatment plan for their patients. NGS testing provides rich data informing possible targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and clinical trial options that otherwise would not be identified for their stage IV patients.
One of the many benefits of NGS testing is the fact that it can contribute to ongoing clinical research efforts to identify new drugs and therapy resistance. If you wish to learn more about next-generation sequencing testing, please visit the CCRAN website (in the document at this link, please see the section entitled: A Little Bit About Next Generation Sequencing).