Viewpoint: We need better access to genetic tests to fulfill the promise of precision medicine

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Image credit: Samuel Markings
[E]ven as innovative targeted [cancer] therapies become available, various barriers prevent patients from gaining access to them. One hurdle that surprised me is access to genomic and mutational tests.

Our team at Cardinal Health surveyed more than 160 oncologists to better understand their perceptions and concerns about precision medicine and genomic testing. Although 65 percent of the respondents said they routinely used genomic testing to determine the best therapy for their patients, many said they worry about their ability to order these tests efficiently and in a timely manner.

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Waiting several weeks for test results may not seem like a big deal, but for patients with an advanced cancer, every day can make a difference.

Diagnostic companies, along with companies that make cancer drugs, need to make tests easier to interpret and teach physicians how to interpret them. Regulators need to set clearer guidelines for tests to ensure greater consistency and ease of use across the industry.

Related article:  Viewpoint: Study's inability to find a 'gay gene' provides affirmation for LGBTQ community

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Hospital systems need to invest in staffing and training their pathology teams to ensure they are up to date as more tests and therapies come onto the market.

Assuring that genomic tests are carried out and properly interpreted in a timely manner is essential to make sure that all patients who can benefit from newer precision oncology therapies have the opportunity to take advantage of them.

Read full, original post: Barriers to genomic testing get in the way of precision medicine

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