Early-Onset Cancer Program
Nationally, what we’ve been observing are increasing trends of early onset cancers in general. It is a really important area to address for a number of reasons. One is that oftentimes cancers in younger adults tend to be more aggressive. There can be some differences in responses to therapies and these patients can have unique psychosocial needs, supportive needs that have to be brought into their care in order for them to really launch into survivorship.
One of the important focus areas for us is going to be in early onset breast cancer. These are young adults, primarily individuals who are extremely active in their lives. They have very busy lives and managing all of these things in life, along with a cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment really can put a strain. It can really impact mental health and have it be a difficulty to go forward.
So our particular early onset cancer program is actually going to be very translational and very comprehensive. So we’re going to look at this by engaging multidisciplinary experts that addresses how do we make advances in this space from the clinical arena, which means we have to go hand in hand with research and everywhere along the way we need to think about this from the aspect of addressing disparities and enhancing equity.
Patients who have early onset cancers are often the patients that need to be seen
for genetic testing and genetic counseling and then use those results to be able to give medical management recommendations to patients about cancer screening, risk for themselves for additional cancers, treatment of cancers and then genetic testing in their families.
Now, this field has really risen in importance because of this field of precision medicine. So now for patients, even that have cancers, particularly advanced cancers, genetic testing is being done to be able to identify genetic changes that can help inform their treatment. And also even in the space of some patients, for example, with earlier stage breast cancers, those genetic results can help inform their surgical decisions. So it’s really important across the spectrum from cancer treatment all the way to cancer risk information.