Renegade doctor and Lifechanger Dr. Robert Nagourney customizes chemotherapy to treat various types of cancer. Now he's answering common questions about his practice.
Q: What's the difference in cancer stages? A: All cancers are managed by stage, 1, 2, 3, 4. All stage 4 cancers are advanced and generally not operable for cure. At the time of diagnosis, most of these patients are considered candidates for chemotherapy. Generally, Stage 3 cancers are locally advanced. Some may benefit from radiation, and/or combinations of chemotherapy and radiation.
Q: How do I choose my chemotherapy? A: Regardless of the type of cancer -- lung vs. colon vs. pancreas vs. breast vs. ovarian -- the selection of chemotherapy drugs can be accomplished using a laboratory test. That is, so long as chemotherapy is indicated, better selection of chemotherapy has the possibility of improving outcome.
Q: What is laboratory directed therapy? A: Our laboratory analyses require fresh, sterile tissue (received in our laboratory within 24 hours). Virtually every known type of cancer has been studied in our laboratory. So long as there has been no recent treatment and the patient is strong enough to tolerate further therapy, the option of laboratory directed therapy is a real possibility. This does not mean that everyone needs these tests, or that everyone can benefit, in that after extensive treatment some cancers may have limited treatment options. Nonetheless, we are willing to consider any patient healthy enough to undergo treatment --who has a site of disease that can be biopsied without causing the patient undue risk or harm.
Q: What do you study in your lab? A: Our laboratory has tested virtually every known drug and drug combination from among FDA approved agents and has also studied many newer forms of investigational drugs, some of which are available to patients in clinical trials. We are very willing to work with each patient's physician to develop a testing profile consistent with their drugs of interest.
Q: Will my insurance cover treatment? A: As to insurance, while we have worked diligently with third party payers and Medicare, coverage for these services remains uncertain. We suggest that patients inquire through their insurance carriers whether all or some of these charges would be covered. We believe that insurance carriers will soon recognize that our analyses, so effective in guiding drug selection, actually cost less than a single dose of most chemotherapy drugs. This should ultimately sway their reimbursement policies.
Please review our website at www.rational-t.com for additional information.
Thank you for your interest,
Robert A. Nagourney, MD
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