cancer

This blog is part of the Early Diagnosis campaign #BeFirst Early diagnosis and care can prevent illness from developing and slow disease progression. Lab tests, genetic tests, tests for chronic diseases and modern lab diagnostics can help facilitate earlier intervention and improves outcomes for patients and are increasingly valuable in informing treatment choice. Read the other blogs here: A smarter way to fight colorectal cancer , Can screening decrease lung cancer mortality rates? , Kidney Disease: catch it early to save lives and money , For kidney disease patients, treatment education and choice are key to better outcomes , Diagnosing severe hearing loss and deafness **************************************** The impact of cervical cancer can be reduced by timely detection of the viruses that cause it. Early detection of cancer-causing human papillomaviruses (HPV) allows prompt intervention, sparing women the trauma of disease – and saving lives. Cervical cancer strikes women in the prime of their lives. The median age for diagnosis is 49 – when people are likely to be active in work and family life – but the virus that causes the disease may have been present for decades before cancer was detected. One in 100 women in Europe will develop cervical cancer in their lifetime. In addition to anxiety and pain, the disease can severe reproductive health issues and, in some cases, premature death. 14 types of human papillomaviruses are known to cause the disease. HPV 16 and HPV 18 are the highest risk types, accounting for more than 70% of cases. HPV is a very common virus, transmitted by skin-to-skin contact. There’s no shame in carrying the virus – most people have it at some point in their lives. In fact, close to 80% of all sexually active adults will get HPV. The good news is that the virus often...
This blog is part of the Early Diagnosis campaign #BeFirst Early diagnosis and care can prevent illness from developing and slow disease progression. Lab tests, genetic tests, tests for chronic diseases and modern lab diagnostics can help facilitate earlier intervention and improves outcomes for patients and are increasingly valuable in informing treatment choice. Read the other blogs here: Why should we prevent cervical cancer? Because we can , A smarter way to fight colorectal cancer , Kidney Disease: catch it early to save lives and money , For kidney disease patients, treatment education and choice are key to better outcomes , Diagnosing severe hearing loss and deafness ****************************************** World Cancer Day (4 February) is an annual reminder of the heavy burden of cancer globally. We all know someone affected by this disease – a friend, a neighbour, a loved one. While outcomes are improving in many forms of the disease, the word ‘cancer’ still strikes fear in the hearts of those who hear it. Lung cancer is a case in point. The disease kills more Europeans than any other cancer. More than 250,000 citizens of the EU-28 die annually. [1] Lung cancer is often diagnosed late. [2] The impact of the disease can be curbed by diagnosing cases as early as possible – maximising the opportunity for successful surgery or treatment. 2 When diagnosed in the late stages of disease, the chances of being alive in five years’ time are not good: for those diagnosed with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer, the average five-year survival rates range from 2% to 13%. [3] The outlook is considerably better when diagnosed at stage I. Globally, most patients (58-73%) whose lung cancer is picked up in the earliest stage live longer than five years. 3 Reducing the burden Low-dose computed tomography (LDCT)...
Colorectal cancers are the third most common type of cancer and the second most common cause of death in Europe. The month of March has been chosen as “ Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month ”, to raise awareness about this disease, as detecting it as early as possible can save many lives. As a surgical oncologist, I can only say that a research-driven multidisciplinary approach is crucial to treat this type of malignancies. If surgery is the only treatment modality which has a curative potential by itself for solid tumours, inadequate cancer surgery can hinder the chances for a potentially curable patient to be rendered long-term disease-free. Doing surgery “right” is essential in the complex area of cancer management. It is not only a matter of how to perform a surgical operation, but mostly whether and when to do it, and under which circumstances. This is why “cancer surgery” has evolved into “surgical oncology”, a term which highlights the healthcare professional’s knowledge of tumour biology and other oncology treatments, as well as his/her belonging to a multidisciplinary team. Surgery applied in the oncologic field should be therefore performed by fully trained surgical specialists in cancer care, and this is even more necessary when we consider the complexity involved in learning the latest trends in colorectal cancer (CRC) surgery . Techniques such as laparoscopic and robotic surgery, as well as trans-anal excision, are now very sophisticated and ensure the same level of effectiveness of the open surgery approach. Thanks to minimally invasive surgery (MIS) , there is a clear shift from the necessity of mutilating anatomic structures, such as the anal sphincter, to their functional preservation. This new approach ensures eligible patients a shorter hospital stay, a quicker return to normal activities, and less pain following surgery. Nowadays, some healthcare specialists (e.g...
The argument has raged for some time and shows no sign of abating any time soon: screening for diseases, yes or no? Take the case of prostate cancer screening: Richard Ablin - the author of “The Great Prostate Hoax”, and the man who claims to be the first to have identified PSA (a protein created by the walnut-sized prostate gland that can easily be measured) - maintains that PSA testing can do, and often does, more harm than good. Ablin, of the University of Arizona, has noted that a man’s PSA levels may be high but that doesn’t mean that he has cancer. On the reverse side of the coin, a low PSA level doesn’t necessary mean that a potential patient’s worries are over in this regard.Yet the fact remains that around one-in-three men aged from 40-60 has traces of prostate cancer, and the risk rises with ageing. So all men should be regularly tested, right? Well, not necessarily… Ablin and others argue that over-testing can very easily lead to over-treatment, including unnecessary invasive surgery to remove the prostate gland. The over-treatment argument has also been used in respect of breast cancer screening, although the figures tend to show that it works very well in a preventative sense and even better in detecting early breast cancer in target age groups. Yet over-treatment is clearly an issue, with many women (plus those aforementioned men with early ‘signs’ of prostate cancer) simply wanting all traces of the disease, or potential disease, removed right away, regardless of the potential cost to them personally or, indeed, fiscally to society in general. So over-treatment is clearly something that cannot be side-stepped. The counter-arguments - and they are very strong ones - is that our ‘social contract’ has obligations to ensure the highest standards possible regarding...
Artificial intelligence technology can help to meet rising demand for early detection of melanoma. Skin cancer and melanoma (the most severe type of skin cancer) are becoming a social health issue. The incidence has been rising. Currently, between 2 and 3 million non-melanoma skin cancers and 132,000 melanoma skin cancers occur globally each year. Experts agree that early detection is essential and can save lives. One third of those diagnosed are below 50 at the time of diagnosis. There is still no medical cure, but recently some new treatments have emerged that can help to extend life for few years. Those new treatments for advanced melanoma come at a cost, but, if detected at an early stage and removed by excision, the cost is more than 100 times less. Early detection starts with population awareness – people should always consult their doctor if they are in any doubt about a mole. However, the trouble is that early-stage melanoma can easily be confused with benign moles, and 90% of the population has at least one mole. With cases on the rise, the number of dermatologists will soon be insufficient to cope with the increased workload. New ideas are sorely needed. Wanted: innovative solutions I ask often myself why around 30% of melanoma are still detected at an advance stage? Why are there so many benign lesions excised – about 20 to 30 times more than the number of malignant lesions? Why is it so difficult for general practitioners, who are very often acting as a first point of contact, to do an efficient skin exam? I believe that with new technologies and e-health, which allow us to set up new processes and bring innovative healthcare services to clinics, solutions can be found to overcome those issues. When dermatologists began using dermoscopy...
Every family has a cancer story. If you have not had direct personal experience of cancer, the chances are that you know a loved one, a friend or a colleague who has. More than three million people in Europe are diagnosed with cancer every year, and 1.7 million cancer deaths are recorded annually. The death and illness caused by cancer exacts a heavy toll on individuals, communities and the economy. Finding smart ways to improve outcomes for all is essential. Cancer care has advanced dramatically in recent times but survival rates and outcomes still vary depending on where you live. This is because access to ‘multimodal care’ – including surgery, radiotherapy, medicines and palliative care – are excellent in some corners of Europe and dismal in others. This challenge is so urgent that The Lancet Oncology coordinated two Commissions to examine the economic case for stepping up investment in cancer surgery and access to radiotherapy, with an emphasis on the return on investment in terms of lives saved as well as economic benefits. Impact of radiotherapy Radiotherapy has come a long way in a relatively short time. The ability to reduce and destroy tumours with a targeted dose of radiation is a valuable element of cancer treatment. It is recommended for approximately 50% of new cancer patients. However, despite this, more than 90% of people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) lack access to radiotherapy. A report by the Lancet Oncology Commission ‘Expanding global access to radiotherapy’ estimates that by 2035 12 million patients per year in LMICs would benefit from radiotherapy. This life-saving technology requires investment and long-term thinking. A reasonable question for governments, hospitals and insurers is whether the investment is worth it. a report by the Global Taskforce on Radiotherapy for Cancer Control (GTFRCC) , written by...