Cancer: There are more alternatives than just healing
One of the oldest cancer research institutes in England criticizes the current focus of cancer research on curing cancer. According to the institute, this would divert public attention from the significant progress that has now been made in life-extending measures.
The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London has been doing scientific research on cancer and its treatment for more than 100 years. The institute recently drew attention to the fact that cancer can also become a long-term controllable disease through new therapies. However, many people think that cancer is only a cure or death.
Public opinion on cancer
An English YouGov survey found that only around a quarter of all people think that long-term cancer survival will improve. At the same time, around 39 percent of all respondents believe that it will not be possible to cure cancer in the next 50 years. It also turned out that the participants think much more negatively about cancer than about heart disease or diabetes.
Life-extending measures are overlooked
The Institute of Cancer Research believes that this public opinion has come about because the research has largely focused on curing cancer, overlooking the enormous advances that have been made to make people with advanced diseases a much longer one To enable life with high quality of life.
More hope than you think
Statistics show that the average survival of cancer patients has roughly doubled over the past decade. New targeted drugs, combination treatments and immunotherapies are beginning to significantly improve long-term control of the disease, even in advanced stages, even if no cure is possible.
Is there a wrong picture about cancer?
The ICR researchers emphasize that the vast majority of cancer deaths result from drug resistance because cancer cells have the ability to adapt. However, the survey showed that around every second person would not consider this connection to be the greatest challenge in cancer research.
There is not only resistance to antibiotics
The survey also showed that many people believe that drug resistance is always linked to antibiotics. In the context of cancer, however, drug resistance means that the drug used stops working. 15 percent of all respondents had never heard of cancer cells being able to withstand treatment.
Healing or death - or living with cancer
The ICR criticizes the widespread approach that cancer must be cured at all costs, preventing many affected people from living their lives. This opinion is not helpful for many sufferers and overshadows the progress made so that those affected can live a better life with cancer.
Cancer is always a big shock
The ICR team cites 71-year-old Chrissie as an example. "It was really scary when I was told I had cancer," she told the ICR. "It all happened so quickly and I didn't really have the time to process what was happening to me and what the diagnosis would mean for my future."
"I never thought you could control cancer"
Chrissie's diagnosis was over ten years ago. Today she still works one day a week, does yoga and supports local refugee families in her free time. Chrissie had never thought that cancer is something you can control. "I am aware that I have cancer, but it does not stop me from living my life," said the 71-year-old.
12 months become 14 years
Barbara Ritchie Lines from Birmingham is another victim who has been diagnosed with cancer since 2005. "I was told that I might only have 12 months to live - but now it's 14 years, and I'm so thankful that I can spend time with my new grandchildren," says the breast cancer patient.
Make cancer controllable
The ICR is currently building a research center that focuses on the discovery of drugs that are intended to improve the long-term control of cancer. In a new approach, the disease should be viewed more like an HIV infection. Although there is no cure for HIV, therapists can live long and with a high quality of life.
The new center for long-term cancer control
Dr. Olivia Rossanese is to assume biological management at the new Center for Cancer Drug Discovery. "Healing cancer will always remain the holy grail of research," the scientist knows. However, more needs to be done to enable long-term control with a good quality of life for patients who cannot be cured.
Living longer and better with cancer?
For some people, there is even a risk that aggressive treatments will cause cancer to return in a more dangerous variant. "We believe that cancer should no longer be a case of healing or death," emphasizes Dr. Rossanese. "We now know that there is a growing population of people who can live longer and better with cancer." (Vb)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek
- Institute of Cancer Research (ICR): 09 Cancer research offers more hope than people think (accessed: December 9, 2019), icr.ac.uk