Letter: POG does not replace other cancer treatments

For the Record: Correction of health care article published in Wednesday's Kelowna Capital News.

To the editor:

Regarding a recent article in the Kelowna Capital News (Personalized Treatments for Okanagan Cancer Patients, Sept. 30), it has a substantial error.

The POG (Personalized Oncogenomics Program) is not in any way a replacement for chemotherapy or radiation, as your [contributed] article states.

The genomic analysis and report generated by POG is meant to provide more information to cancer doctors (oncologists) and specifically we look for what genomic abnormalities might be responsible for driving the growth or behaviour of a patient’s specific cancer.

This additional information may influence the treatments that a patient receives, including chemotherapy. The overarching goal of the program is to use this genomic information to direct the patient toward separate systemic therapy (chemotherapy) clinical trials whenever possible, these are usually targeted chemotherapy drugs.

As POG is a highly experimental new technology, the patients who are enrolled have cancers that have been deemed incurable by standard treatment protocols. If a patient would like to know if they are eligible for POG, they should speak to their oncologist as this protocol is open to patients across B.C.

Kevin Sauvé,  communications officer,

BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver