Sarvodaya Cancer Institute Advances Precision Oncology through Genetic Testing
Faridabad : on National Cancer Awareness day Dr. Dinesh Pendharkar, Director of Sarvodaya Cancer Institute, Sector 8, Faridabad, highlights the critical importance of understanding the genetics of cancer and its profound impact on the field of oncology. In a recent address, Dr. Pendharkar emphasized the significance of genetic information in shaping an individual's susceptibility to cancer and the development of targeted therapies.
Genetic information isn't limited to familial traits but extends to every cell within the human body. The genetic material in these cells governs the entire process of growth and development from childhood to adulthood. These genetic instructions within the cells determine whether a cell will develop into a cancerous one or remain healthy.
Dr. Dinesh Pendharkar, Director, Sarvodaya Cancer Institute Faridabad, Said “Cancer cells possess unique characteristics, including the ability to evade cell death and migrate to other parts of the body, where they continue to grow. These distinct properties are influenced by specific genes. Genes can undergo structural changes, known as mutations, as either part of an individual’s genetic makeup or due to external factors like smoking, pollution, alcohol consumption, obesity, or other environmental influences.”
Genetic mutations are fundamental in the development of cancer. When a mutation occurs, a cell may transform into a cancerous one. Fortunately, we now recognize specific genes associated with certain cancers and have developed drugs that target these genetic anomalies. This approach, known as precision oncology or targeted therapy, is a ground-breaking advancement in cancer treatment.
Says Dr. Dinesh Pendharkar “Today, genetic testing has become a standard practice for cancer patients. Instead of traditional biopsies, genetic testing, specifically next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology, is used to analyse the genetic makeup of cancerous cells. This information helps oncologists identify the specific genetic alterations responsible for the cancer, allowing them to prescribe targeted treatments that offer better outcomes for patients.”
Precision oncology has become the foundation of cancer care, and every patient is encouraged to undergo genetic testing. The technology has advanced to the point where analyzing hundreds of genes is feasible, ensuring the most effective treatment options. While these tests can provide valuable insights into an individual's predisposition to cancer, it's important to approach them with caution. Dr. Pendharkar advises that patients consult with their doctors and genetic experts before undergoing genetic testing, as the results may have significant psychological and emotional implications.
Genetic testing can reveal predispositions to cancer, and individuals must be mentally prepared to receive such information. In cases of family histories of cancer, discussions with healthcare professionals and genetic counselors are essential to provide the necessary support and guidance. These conversations can help individuals make informed decisions about their health and well-being.
Dr. Pendharkar emphasizes the need for individuals to approach genetic testing responsibly and consider their psychological readiness to receive potentially life-altering information. Precision oncology offers unprecedented opportunities for cancer treatment, but it is essential that patients and healthcare providers work together to navigate the complexities of genetic testing and its implications.