Your doctor does everything they can to find the treatments that are right for you, and many paths may seem to end in roadblocks. Don’t get discouraged, if you feel like you may be running out of treatment options. There may be other tools in your fight against cancer.

It’s quite normal for your oncologist to choose your treatment based on the standard treatment path for your cancer.

The standard of care is established by a collective of some of the world’s top cancer centers. You start with the most common treatment for your cancer. If it doesn’t control your cancer, you move on to the next most common option. This cycle will continue until you either find a treatment that works for you, or you have tried all the standard options. Many patients do find effective treatments this way, but it doesn’t work for everybody.

The oncology community has made great strides in identifying unique genes, proteins and other molecules called cancer biomarkers that can provide clues about how your cancer functions and which treatment options have been linked to these biomarkers.

Biomarker testing has become standard of care before treatment for some cancer types including certain types of lung, stomach, colon, skin and breast cancers. But for most cancer types, this type of upfront testing is not yet standard.

The cancer biomarkers identified through comprehensive molecular profiling won’t help everyone, but this type of testing has the potential to help some patients evaluate possible treatment options.