Saturday, December 03, 2022

cancer fighting price

cancer fighting price

Mario died of lung cancer in 2000. He was diagnosed at an advanced stage, had no options for treatment, and he barely lived a few months. Twenty years later, his son Juan received the same diagnosis, but now things are different: the molecular tests performed on him are surname for her tumor (it is a microcytic or small cell cancer with a specific type of mutation) and she has been treated with a novel therapy: immunotherapy, a form of treatment in which the patient’s own lymphocytes attack tumor cells. Huh. “I know there’s a long way to go, but everything indicates it’s under control. My father died at the age of 52, when he still had a lot ahead of him.

Cases like Juan’s are common today. Compared to previous decades, when hearing a diagnosis of cancer drove us into the abyss of a deadly pathology, advances in oncology have enabled more and more people to recover from the disease—or live with it—and relive their lives to the fullest. allowed to start with.

“It’s not just oncology: society has advanced too,” said Dr. Málaga Inter-Centre Clinical Management Unit director of the Unit for Oncology. Emilio Alba clarified. “Now she is more prepared, with more culture, and knows that cancer is not a single entity, but that there are many types and stages of cancer, as well as many different treatments.”

It is known that there are at least two hundred different types of tumors and they can also vary from person to person. In this vast gallery, the increase in survival in recent years has been closely correlated with advances in each of these types of knowledge. “Knowledge, this has been the first major milestone. Although we still have a long way to go, we are beginning to be clear about what cancer is. By now we were lost, we were in the dark”, President of the ECO Foundation and Head of the Oncology Service of the University Clinical Hospital of Santiago de Compostela, Dr. Rafael Lopez admits. “We are now able to unravel the most intimate mechanisms of cancer, to understand the normal and abnormal functioning of cells.”

It is coming out of the darkness, and it is allowing cancer patients to live longer and better and even make a fuller recovery from the disease. Exceptional examples are: worldwide, between 2000 and 2014, there has been an 88% increase in five-year survival in cases of lymphoma in children, or by 85% in prostate tumors, or by 78% in mothers. In others – the pancreas, lungs or liver – the increase has not been so remarkable, “but the road is unstoppable”, agree two experts.

And the consequences of this path are not just personal. Because cancer is a social disease and beyond the intimate history of each affected individual, it carries a heavy collective burden. If we take this to the economic and labor sectors, study authors Cancer burden in Spain, published in the magazine History of the Royal Academy of Medicine, In 2019, they estimate that cancer incurs a total annual cost of more than 7,000 million euros, which is 10% of Spanish health spending, or what is equal, 0.66% of GDP.

This huge figure includes direct costs (hospital, medical and primary care expenses) and indirect costs (effects of premature death, temporary disability and permanent disability), as well as the cost of informal care: this care is unprofessional and unpaid. impacts families.

value of research

In one way or another, cancer not only affects the patient, but their entire personal and work environment, as well as society as a whole. For this reason, the prognosis or chronology of cancer overtakes each specific case. Furthermore, for this reason, cancer is a byproduct of advances in research and innovation that contribute from three perspectives: health, economic and social. Professionals like Dr. Rafael López point out the importance of talking about the value of research. “And the value should also include how much it means to be able to improve quality of life, be able to return to work early, or be a mother after cancer.”

“If we follow the cancer process from the very beginning, innovation has occurred at all stages: from diagnostic techniques to therapeutic devices, both pharmacologically and surgically and radiologically…” explains Dr. Alba. And all this, he says, is “reducing toxicity and keeping an eye on quality of life.”

It’s an important aspect: it’s not just about cancer survival, but it’s about having to do with quality of life, “a concept that’s talked about a lot, but it’s hard to measure,” says Dr. Lopez warns. “From my own experience, I see that the quality of life of cancer patients has improved significantly. Previously, there were hardly any patients who were in treatment and could work; that number is rising to 4 today, which makes us think That they are in a better position now. Our goal should be for patients to re-engage in society with minimum sequelae and maximum functionality.”

More effective and less toxic treatments

The aim of curing ordinary life is exceptionally helped by precision medicine, i.e. to give the best treatment to each specific patient. Dr. Alba highlights: “For this, accurate diagnosis is critical: if we previously had a tumor name, now is the time to give it a nickname. And, based on those nicknames, choose which treatment to give.” Which to give or not to give. Genomic platforms for breast cancer have allowed us to know that 50% of patients do not require chemotherapy. The same results can be achieved, but with fewer drugs and with less toxicity. with.”

After this precise diagnosis derived from the genetic characteristics of each tumor, come therapeutic innovations. For example, Juan’s small cell cancer is being treated with immunotherapy, whose survival outcome and toxicity profile are more favorable than conventional chemotherapy.

And it’s not just immunotherapy; Conjugated antibody therapy, for example, is an innovative way to fight different types of cancer that helps chemotherapy act selectively on tumor cells. or even liquid biopsy, which allows a simple test to confirm or rule out the presence of tumor cells in the blood and progress of pathology and other products, such as DNA, to closely monitor the cancer monitors.

“Small innovation is a roadmap; We have to do it every day and not individually, but over time and see the change as a whole”, explains Dr. Lopez. “Small continuous advances generate a great advance.”

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