Top Three Oncology Trends To Watch

The oncology market is still recalibrating from the tumult and backlog of diagnoses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. While epidemiology and vaccines were at the forefront of public interest medicine, the oncology industry felt the challenge of ensuring patients received both timely diagnoses and access to treatments and hospital services for their immunocompromised population. At Charleston Oncology, we have risen to the challenge with improved access to an array of new, effective, and personalized cancer treatments.

The providers at Charleston Oncology are committed to serving the cancer community in our area. We have locations throughout the Lowcountry and have recently partnered with Roper St. Francis Healthcare’s growing healthcare system to serve our patients better. By 2030, estimates predict that over 70% of cancer diagnoses will be in adults over age 65. Top trends in 2023 to watch include advancements in immunotherapy, targeted cancer treatments, and access to clinical trials.

What are immunotherapy advancements?

The oncology industry is seeing unprecedented growth in immunotherapy advances. When effective, immunotherapy empowers an individual’s immune system to detect and fight many different types of cancer. Conventional cancer chemotherapies that kill rapidly dividing cells remain a critical part of cancer treatment planning. However, significant toxicities and acquired resistance to chemotherapy can limit the effectiveness of these drugs. Immunotherapy provides an alternative treatment for some cancers without the side effects often associated with chemotherapy. In many cases, the host response to immunotherapy results in better, more sustained cancer control when compared to more conventional chemotherapy. Diagnostic and genetic testing is used to determine an ideal, personalized treatment course for our cancer patients.

What is a targeted oncology approach?

Targeted treatment approaches inhibit pathways critical to tumor growth.

Not long ago, physicians relied almost exclusively on radiation and chemotherapy as the sole method for treating cancers. However, researchers are continually developing new ways to target cancer cells. From genetic testing to immunotherapy and pharmacogenomics, the expectation is to see many more advancements that will improve care for cancer patients. There are many drugs in use today that attach to specific “targets” on cancer cells which allows the drug to kill the cancer cell without harming adjacent healthy cells that do not express the same target. Specialized genetic testing is used to determine if an individual patient’s tumor has cancer cells that are susceptible to targeted therapy

Why is access to clinical trials critical?

For the Charleston Oncology physicians and supporting team, staying ahead of the fast-paced research advancements in oncology and hematology means providing safe, quality clinical trials where appropriate. Benefits to the patient include access to the latest therapies, closer monitoring for patients participating in trials, and the reduction of cost due to the research team covering the cost of treatment. At Charleston Oncology, we strive to provide access to an extensive list of clinical trials for our patients. Our recent partnership with Roper St. Francis Healthcare strengthens our ability to participate in nationally recognized clinical trials. Our list of trials changes frequently so that we can continue to provide access to cutting-edge care. Whether or not an individual patient is eligible to participate in a specific trial depends on the qualifications specified by the trial. Those factors may include the specific type of cancer, the stage of cancer, and whether or not the patient has already been treated with cancer therapies prior to enrolling in the trial.

Talk to your provider to determine if these and many more exciting advancements in the oncology and hematology arena are right for your treatment course.

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