World Cancer Day is observed every year on February 4, by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO). The main objective of this health day is to raise awareness about the deadly nature of human cancers affecting different organs in the body and take proactive steps to prevent the disease, especially in children and young adults.
The theme for this year's World Cancer Day is, "I am and I will". It is part of the UICC's three-year campaign, from 2019 to 2021, to urge the general public to participate in activities such as public speaking forums, marathon runs and self-motivation camps for cancer survivors. This will certainly help spread the message about measures that can be taken to prevent the onset of cancer and reduce the incidence of cancers as well as mortalities due to non-communicable diseases (NCD) in the coming years.
Understanding the basics of cancer pathology and the available treatment options is crucial in this regard. Thanks to groundbreaking discoveries and inventions by the medical and scientific community in the past three to four decades, impressive strides have been made in effectively treating various cancers and successfully averting their recurrence in the patient. Also Read: The Role Of Immunotherapy In Treating Cancer
Today, cancer survivors enjoy an enhanced quality of life, what with the myriad palliative care facilities and advancements in diagnostic and remedial procedures. Oncologists have even performed complex brain tumour removal surgeries and scientists have unravelled novel anti-cancer compounds, reinforcing the belief that a cure for cancer is not merely a dream, but will soon be a reality.
Read on, to know about some of the major progressive accomplishments, in cancer therapies in recent times.
Significant Advancements In Cancer Therapies:
Chemotherapy refers to the use of chemical drugs aimed at destroying cancer cells, by either taking the medicine orally or administering via subcutaneous injections.
From using just a single molecule to target the cancer cells in the patient, scientific advancements have paved the way for combination therapies.
In this manner, the duration of chemotherapy is reduced, while simultaneously increasing its efficacy.
Due to brilliant strides in technology to assist in healthcare, the use of high power radiation particles like X-rays and protons to eliminate toxic cancers in the system need not be invasive and extremely painful anymore.
In instances of early detection of tumours, radiation protocols can be carried out externally, efficiently eradicating cancer cells while causing no harm or injury to the neighbouring healthy tissues.
In situations wherein cancer in the patient has still not metastasized i.e. spread to other organs from its primary site of origin, surgical means to remove the tumour lumps are the ideal way to go cancer-free.
The brilliant innovations in medical technology have made cancer surgeries more accurate, resulting in less discomfort and a very low possibility of relapse.
Cancer is a dangerous illness that makes the immune system in the affected individual very vulnerable, with the patient often contracting other microbial illnesses. Due to in-depth research in discovering the origin and pathophysiology of certain cancers in humans, scientists have demonstrated the technique of genetically modifying the immune system so as to make it function optimally.
Immune therapy also immensely increases the effectiveness of other cancer treatments in the patient such as radiation and chemotherapy.
Quite often, when cancer affects healthy cells in the body, it tends to localize within an organ such as lungs, liver, breast or kidney. While the solution is to surgically excuse the whole organ from the body, it is a challenge for the patient to function normally without them. Also Read: Breast Cancer: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
The superb innovations in 3D printing and biological models replicating while human organs shows tremendous potential in relaxing the affected organ in the cancer patient and ensuring a better quality of life for them post-surgery.