There is now a way to figure out which form of chemotherapy would successfully treat cancer before trying it out, but according to some doctors, many insurance companies and physicians are resistant to trying the treatment.
Lisa Vince was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in 2015. It could be a death sentence, but oncologist Steve Mamus gave her a second chance with a new treatment called GPS cancer.
"The GPS test is a simple test which can predict whether a patient will respond to a particular treatment for their cancer," said Mamus.
In other words, it helps pinpoint which treatment will work best before it’s given.
"For a patient that is very ill, who may only have one shot at treatment, you want to make sure that you get the right choice," said Mamus.
GPS Cancer works by measuring the presence of protein biomarkers in the patient's tumor cells, which are known to induce drug resistance or indicate drug sensitivity, which then leads them to what they hope is the most effective type of treatment.
"It has given me new life; it literally has saved my life. My heart breaks when I find that people are dying of cancer now, because I know that GPS testing isn't used as it should be used," Vince said.
Not everyone is as lucky as Vince. Some patients have to battle their cancer and the insurance companies.
"We were paying astronomical premiums for wonderful insurance that we had, and yet they didn't want to give their permission for the medicine, which essentially was like them being a death panel," said Vince.
Mamus says physicians are another obstacle, especially those that tend to treat by set guidelines and are resistant to think left or right from what is advised at a national level.