Recap: ‘Ask The Expert’ On Smart Patients

October 3, 2016 7:09 pm

The following article is provided by The Clearity Foundation to support women with ovarian cancer and their families. Learn more about The Clearity Foundation and the services we provide directly to women as they make treatment decisions and navigate emotional impacts of their diagnosis.

Smart Patients

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. To celebrate, we hosted an “Ask the Expert” conversation in our ovarian cancer community. We invited Deb Zajchowski, Ph.D. to join us for a very informative and very collaborate discussion about ovarian cancer recurrence, molecular profiling and personalized treatment choices.

Recap: 'Ask The Expert' On Smart Patients Deb is a cancer biologist with over 20 years experience in cancer research and drug discovery in the biopharmaceutical industry. She is currently the Scientific Director of the Clearity Foundation and has been involved with the foundation since its inception. That means she’s extremely knowledge about the science behind molecular profiling and also extremely passionate about helping ovarian cancer patients understand what molecular profiling means and why it’s important.

Deb started the conversation by asking the community whether tumor profiling was ever brought up at the time of diagnosis and, even more fundamentally, if anyone had questions about what molecular profiling means. One of the things we love most about our “Ask the Expert” series is that our experts often learn a lot too.  Our members shared with Deb what they knew and how much their doctors talked about molecular profiling during appointments.

One question that came up was what to do if your doctor isn’t talking about molecular profiling. Deb shared some great advice about different ways to start the conversation.

The more questions you ask of your doctors, the more information you have to make these decisions together with them.

There may be reasons why a doctor feels certain treatments and testing are more appropriate than others but, as Deb reminded all members, you will never know why (or why not) unless you ask.

Because of her years of experience in the field, Deb was able to describe molecular profiling in a clear and helpful way. She explained to one member who was unfamiliar with the term.

Your tumor sample is tested to see how much of certain molecules (proteins) are present (or not). This information can suggest that some drugs may work better than others.

Deb also shared that tumor profiling can help determine which clinical trial might be best if you are interested in pursuing one as a treatment option.

Everyone at Smart Patients, especially the ovarian cancer  community who were able to join the conversation, are very grateful to Deb for sharing her time and insight.

If you weren’t able to join the conversation, you can still read the questions and answers here: Ask the Expert: OC recurrence, molecular profiling and personalized treatment choices. There was a lot of great information shared by both our expert, Deb, and our awesome Ovarian Cancer community members.

To read this post on Smart Patients, please click here.

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