Sunday, January 4, 2015

Entering The Golden Age Of Cancer Research & Therapy—Part Of The Paradigm Of Personalized Medicine

 Health & Wellness
The Cancer Atlas: One of the best preventative measures is to avoid smoking, it says:
“Tobacco contains a wide range of harmful substances as well as a powerfully addictive drug, nicotine. Smoking tobacco significantly increases the risks of numerous cancers, including lung, esophagus,
oral cavity, pharynx, and larynx. Smoking is also associated with many diseases other than cancer.
By 2030, tobacco is projected to kill 8 million people annually.”

Source: Canceratlas
Credit: American Cancer Society, the International Agency for Research on Cancer,
and the Union for International Cancer Control, 2014

There is some good news for Americans. The number of people dying from cancer has diminished in the U.S. since 1991, the peak year. Yet more preventative work and research is required, since cancer remains the leading cause of death worldwide. There is a correlation between incidences of cancer and lifestyle choices, such as smoking, obesity and inactivity, but of course genetics also determines who gets cancer as much as anything else.

Yet, not as much as previously thought; lifestyle choices now predominates the thinking among cancer experts. And the onus today is on prevention. There were 14.1 million new cases of cancer in 2012 (all statistics relate to 2012) and 8.2 million individuals died from cancer. Lung cancer is responsible for one in five cancer deaths worldwide, and it remains a threat: 1.8 million persons were diagnosed with lung cancer. In most cases these deaths were both premature and preventable. Such is the thinking among cancer specialists.

There are other causes, including the fact that infectious agents are a leading cause of cancer. The cancer atlas says the following:
Worldwide, infectious agents are responsible for an estimated 2 million new cancer cases annually (16.1% of all cancers). The burden of these infection-related cancers is much higher in less-developed regions (22.9% overall and 32.7% in sub-Saharan Africa) versus more-developed regions (7.4%). The four main cancer-causing infectious agents — Helicobacter pylori, human papillomavirus, and hepatitis B and C viruses — are responsible for most infection-related cancers globally (mainly gastric, cervical and liver cancers, respectively).
All the more reason to get prophylactic vaccinations, to eat well, to exercise, to avoid smoking and to visit a doctor regularly for screening and for annual physicals—advice that has been given to us for decades. This might not prevent cancer, but it makes the odds of early detection all the more greater. 

We every reason to be optimistic and hopeful. We are entering the “golden age of cancer research and treatment,” which includes personalized genomics, immunotherapy and cancer nanotherapy—all leading to the idea of personalized medicine.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gives a succinct definition of what personalized medicine will mean for us:
The term "personalized medicine" is often described as providing "the right patient with the right drug at the right dose at the right time." More broadly, "personalized medicine" may be thought of as the tailoring of medical treatment to the individual characteristics, needs, and preferences of a patient during all stages of care, including prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up.
The future might be closer than some might think; I suggest that this will become the norm in industrialized nations within the next ten years. And humanity will be better and healthier as a result.

For more, go to [CancerAtlas]

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