Personalised Cancer Medicine Guide for Patients

Personalised medicine is the future of cancer medicine. To make it a reality in the near future and to offer improved treatments, the patient’s active role is crucial.

ESMO is committed to educating patients in this evolving approach, so they can better understand the main principles and how they can contribute. Well-informed patients and educated choices matter.

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The goal of this guide is not to present the personalised medicine achievements in every tumour type or to elaborate on situations where it is not yet a part of standard practice. Instead, in this material we provided an overview on governing principles, illustrating them through examples of personalised medicine approaches in several tumour types.

In this guide you can find information on:

Personalised cancer medicine guide for patients
  • What is personalised medicine?
  • Personalisation of oncological treatments
  • The new era: discovery of DNA
  • Understand how to personalise each individual treatment
  • Understand how to personalise disease
  • Why is it important for cancer patients to understand personalised medicine?
  • Personalisation of healthy living
  • Glossary of terms


Personalised Medicine Factsheet

The ESMO Guide for Patients in personalised cancer medicine is now complemented by a factsheet.

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The factsheet discusses:

  • the definition of personalised medicine
  • evidence in cancer biology
  • targeted therapy explanations
  • what patients should be aware of
  • challenges that need to be solved
  • the need for education & research

This guide for patients has been initiated by the ESMO Personalised Medicine Task Force as part of the ESMO strategic activities to assist patients, their family members and friends to better understand the factors that may influence the personalised approach to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Representatives from European cancer patient advocacy groups and members of the ESMO Cancer Patient Working Group also provided their views and comments on different issues in personalised cancer medicine.

Published in 2013

To enquire about permission to translate or support the distribution (in English or in a translated version) of the Patient Guides series, please send an e-mail to