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ACS Conference Key Takeaways: Staging in the Age of Personalized Medicine
Personalized Medicine

In the last couple of months I’ve authored blog posts on the AJCC 8th Edition Cancer Staging Manual and Changes to CoC Standards. Both were topics of discussion at the 2017 ACS Cancer Programs Conference my colleagues and I attended in September. 

As a third post in this series, I thought I would devote a few paragraphs to the topic of staging in the age of personalized medicine - a buzz word I heard often as I mingled with other attendees at the conference. 

What Does “Personalized Medicine” Mean to Cancer Registrars?

To us registrars, personalized medicine means documenting more information as we abstract, which means we play a bigger role in the overall process. As we take on this greater responsibility, we need to embrace change and learn new things with regards to genomics and prognostic indicators - a huge component of future diagnosing and treatment of cancer patients.

This is an exciting area of development and is even incorporated into the work of the Cancer MoonshotSM program which will be accelerating cancer research over the next seven years. At our ACS conference, we heard from Commission on Cancer and American Joint Committee on Cancer physicians who recommend we keep the personalized medicine discussion going at tumor boards and other conferences. As it continues to develop, we should focus on consistent workup of all cases, as well as staging and treatment planning according to national guidelines around the personalized medicine concept. And we should partner with our IT teams at every opportunity to develop algorithms needed to help us determine patient’s stage, treatment, outcome and survival.

What an exciting time to be working in the cancer registry! Adapting our staging techniques to support the development of personalized medicine means we have a new opportunity to play a role in the advancements being made to improve cancer treatment.

Has personalized medicine impacted the way you work in the cancer registry? Tell us "how" by leaving a comment below.

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