The following content is created in partnership with UC San Diego Health. It does not reflect the work or opinions of the NBC San Diego editorial staff. Click here to learn more about UC San Diego Health.
Last year, more than 1.8 million people across the United States were diagnosed with cancer. Considering that no two cancers are the same and that more treatment options are now available, cancer care is becoming more personalized than ever. But personalized and comprehensive care goes beyond having a customized treatment plan: It's about taking the whole patient—their genes, background, lifestyle, goals and specific diagnosis—into account when putting together a treatment plan.
Here's why, if you ever face a cancer diagnosis, personalized care at a federally recognized Comprehensive Cancer Center—such as Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health—should be your priority.
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Each cancer, even those with the same site of origin—say breast or stomach cancer—behaves differently. Research has shown that cancer is not just one disease but many, with specific characteristics, risk factors, causes, and treatments. That's why scientists continue investing time and resources to advance personalized treatments.
A customized approach to cancer care considers each patient's genetic background and tumor characteristics, as well as each patient’s priorities and preference. Ranging from radiation and chemotherapy to immunotherapy and precise medicine, it's about finding the best option for each person's specific challenge.
Instead of sticking to specific protocols, this approach focuses on one thing: the patient. "Every patient's care plan—from treating the disease to managing related side effects—is designed to meet his or her needs and treatment goals," says Dr. Catriona Jamieson, deputy director of Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health. "Patients and caregivers are involved every step of the way, empowered to make informed decisions about their care."
A top-notch team
When facing a cancer diagnosis, this much is certain: You want the best doctors available.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, such as Moores Cancer Center, offer just that. The NCI designation is the highest possible rating for a U.S. cancer center, reserved for centers with leadership and resources to treat all types of cancer, most importantly yours.
As San Diego's only Comprehensive Cancer Center, Moores Cancer Center is the only place in the region with doctors who are actively advancing cancer care.
Whether the patient must fight a common type of cancer or an extremely rare one, the goal is developing the most effective treatment plan for that individual. "UC San Diego Health takes a multidisciplinary approach to cancer care,” explains Jamieson. “Meaning that for your specific diagnosis, a team of physicians across multiple specialties will work together to develop the most effective treatment plan for you."
Support you need, when you need it
Patients also benefit from an array of specialists in allied fields—from genetics, physical therapy and nutrition, to psychology, social work, and palliative care. UC San Diego Health (sponsor of this article) recognizes the importance of supporting, educating and comforting patients and loved ones during their cancer journey.
This holistic approach, one that focuses on the whole patient and not just on a specific diagnosis, can have a significant impact on the outcome. "Doctors and nurses also customize care by spending time with the patient, listening to each person's unique concerns and priorities," Jamieson says. "It's a hands-on, empathetic approach that goes beyond delivering the most advanced treatments."
Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be scary and finding the right team may seem overwhelming. Let the specialists at the Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health help you. Click here to learn more.