It is not uncommon for individuals dealing with chronic pain to be referred by their primary physician for biomarker testing. This group of tests, also known as “molecular testing” or “genetic testing”, provides medical professionals with personalized insight on molecular functioning allowing them to make assumptions about a patient’s overall health.
Biomarker testing plays an important role in helping doctors determine a treatment plan customized to a patient’s specific needs. Biomarkers are any of the body’s molecules that can be measured to evaluate health conditions including molecules found in the body’s blood, fluids, and tissue. Testing is usually conducted using either a sample of the tumor tissue which is the most common option or through a blood sample also called a liquid biopsy.
Biomarkers are used for many different aspects of care for a variety of chronic conditions. From assessing risk factors to being used for early detection, this type of testing works in both the diagnosis stage and as a way to track the effectiveness of treatments as time goes on.
Biomarker tests can be divided into three groups: chromosome, gene, and biochemical. Chromosome tests look for changes such as parts of chromosomes becoming erased, expanded, or switched. This test is commonly used to detect and diagnose a patient with cancer as abnormal changes in chromosomes can be a sign of cancer cells in the body. Gene tests, on the other hand, look for extra gene copies, missing genes, incorrectly placed genes, or slight changes that can cause genetic mutations. Biochemical tests are used to search for abnormalities in proteins that can also promote cancer development and growth in the body.
A successful pain management routine is one that is personalized to you. For this reason, we believe that biomarker testing provides you and your medical team with the necessary data to make an informed decision on how to treat your condition as well as any underlying conditions that have not been addressed yet. If you do decide to undergo biomarker testing, we advise that you check if your insurance covers the test beforehand. As always, if you have any questions regarding biomarker testing or other pain management tips, feel free to contact us anytime!