Cancer :: Individualized treatment is a rational approach to treating cancer

In the past week, national figures Elizabeth Edwards and Tony Snow have brought much needed focus on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The challenge is to overcome patient fear and encourage qualified second opinions.

?Patients often confront the phenomenon of ?social medicine?,? said Dr. Robert Nagourney, founder of Rational Therapeutics and medical director of the Malcolm C. Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.

Social medicine occurs when the patient, usually of high economic or social strata, is referred to the doctor or medical center that fits their social stratum. All of the nice people are seen by Doctor X. Unfortunately, that doctor?s unique qualification may be more related to his country club rather than his particular expertise. ?It isn?t only socioeconomic,? Dr. Nagourney continued, ?but also the magical thinking attached to the larger medical centers.?

Once the patient perceives that they are at the best center, second opinions are frequently dismissed out of hand. Regrettably, good outcomes don?t occur by chance or by virtue of a patient?s social stratum. Instead they reflect the matching of patients to those therapies with the highest likelihood of benefit. Regardless of a cancer center?s reputation, the process of drug selection of chemotherapy is usually confined to ?off the shelf? treatments that do not incorporate each patient?s unique biological makeup.

Rational Therapeutics?, Inc. (RTI) is a free-standing research laboratory located in Long Beach, CA. Founded in 1993 by Dr. Robert Nagourney, a prominent hematologist/oncologist, RTI pioneers intelligent cancer therapies that are scientifically tailored for each individual patient. By analyzing tumor response in the laboratory, RTI is able to identify which chemotherapy drug or drug combination induces cell death (apoptosis). This will determine which treatment program is most effective for you.

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