Tennesse residents who suffer from rare types of cancer may be likelier to be misdiagnosed and have trouble finding appropriate specialists and treatments for their diseases. When cancer is rare, fewer research dollars are likely to be devoted to finding treatments or cures for it. Fortunately, however, several novel approaches might mean that people who are diagnosed with rare types of cancer might find treatments that work.

Treatment based on genetic mutations

Finding treatments for rare types of cancer can be difficult because of the problems with conducting clinical studies. Since few people have these particular types of tumors, there may not be adequate numbers of people to support clinical trials. However, a new approach involves treating cancer based on specific genetic mutations rather than where in the body the tumors are located. Some rare types of cancer share similar genetic mutations with more common types of cancer. Targeting a treatment to the shared genetic mutations could effectively treat rare types of cancer in the same way that more common forms are treated.

Establishing patient registries

Establishing patient registries can also help to drive the search for proper treatments for rare types of cancer. These registries allow patients to input clinical information about their symptoms and to include clinical data. Patient registries do not require patients with rare types of cancer to travel but allow researchers to access and analyze data from a relatively large sample size of patients.

Financial incentives for orphan drugs

Since large pharmaceutical companies generally do not want to invest money in drug research for relatively small numbers of people, providing financial incentives to smaller biotechnology firms to conduct the research could help. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers financial incentives to pharmaceutical companies to develop orphan drugs for treating populations of 200,000 or fewer patients.

Rare forms of cancer can be difficult to diagnose and treat. Like other types of cancer, an early and accurate diagnosis is important for the patient’s prognosis. When a misdiagnosis occurs, a patient may receive treatment that he or she does not need and suffer further harm because of medical errors. A medical malpractice lawyer might help the victims recover compensation for their losses.