Colorectal Cancer: Unlocking Your Personalized Path with Genomics

Precision Medicine


Colorectal cancer (CRC) remains a significant health concern, but advancements in precision medicine offer a ray of hope. The treatment approach moves beyond a "one-size-fits-all" strategy by analyzing your tumor's unique genetic makeup to tailor treatment plans. Here's what you should know about colorectal cancer and how genomic testing empowers precision medicine:

Understanding Colorectal Cancer:

Imagine your colon and rectum as a long, muscular tube responsible for absorbing water and nutrients from food which play important roles in the human digestive system.Colorectal cancer arises from abnormal growths of polyps in the lining of the tract. These polyps can be benign (noncancerous), but over time, some may become malignant (cancerous). Therefore, early screening methods such as occult blood test or colonoscopy for individuals with potential risks can help identify patients in the early-stages, allowing physicians to promptly initiate treatments. 

The Role of Genetics for Individuals

As far as we know, lifestyle factors such as excessive fat intake, smoking, and obesity influence the risk of colorectal cancer. However, gene mutations and family inheritance such as hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC) and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) may also play a role in colorectal cancer development. Therefore, genetic testing has become a valuable tool for risk evaluation. 

  • Risk assessment: Depending on the identified mutations, your doctor can assess your potential risks and recommend appropriate screening strategies.

Genomic Testing for Patients: Unlocking Tumor Secrets:

For patients with colorectal cancer, knowing the characteristics of cancer cells via genomic testing is crucial.  This information helps your doctor understand:

  • Tumor type and aggressiveness: Different mutations can lead to distinct types of colorectal cancer with varying growth rates and responses to treatment.
  • Targeted therapy options: Certain mutations may make your tumor susceptible to specific drugs designed to exploit those vulnerabilities. Identifying these can lead to more effective treatment options.

Benefits of Precision Medicine in Colorectal Cancer:
  • Increased treatment effectiveness: By targeting the specific vulnerabilities of your tumor, the treatment response can be higher compared to traditional therapies and can lead to an improved quality of life
  • Personalized treatment plans: No two tumors are exactly alike. Precision medicine allows doctors to tailor treatment plans based on your unique genetic profile, maximizing potential benefits and minimizing risks.

What to Ask Your Doctor:

If you are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, discuss the role of genomic testing with your doctor. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Does my diagnosis warrant genomic testing?
  • What specific mutations does the test look for?
  • How will the test results influence my treatment plan?
  • Are there potential benefits for my family members?


While genomic testing is a powerful tool, it's one piece of the puzzle. Your doctor will consider your overall health, stage of cancer, and other factors when formulating your treatment plan.

Embrace Informed Decisions:

Understanding colorectal cancer and the potential of genomic testing empowers you to participate actively in your healthcare journey. By working with your doctor, you can explore personalized treatment options and make informed decisions towards a healthier future.

Get to know more about the genomic tests: