We won't have to fear cancer soon25th March 2009
Professor Karol Sikora, a leading cancer specialist and dean of the University of Buckingham Medical School, suggests cancer is something people will soon no longer have to fear.
In two decades’ time, cancer will be seen as a chronic illness that can be prevented or controlled in most cases and with treatment offered at home.
Children aged 12 will provide DNA samples to reveal their genetic susceptibility to various cancers and then be offered advice and treatment to counter the risk.
This is not a far-fetched idea.
A study in the European Journal of Cancer showed that half of women and over a third of men in England now survive the disease.
Cancers that once killed are treatable and there are better screening programmes, diagnostic tools and drugs.
To catch up with the progress of other European nations, there are four major challenges; in technology, diagnostics, cost and delivering treatment.
With technology there will be developments in surgery, nanotechnology and in radiotherapy.
New diagnostic techniques, such as the DNA-sequencing kit, will aid prevention.
Cost will be an issue, coupled with society’s attitude to who should pay but the conflict between wanting the best, but not wanting to pay, will test the NHS.
But once treatment has been funded, delivering it will be a fourth challenge and key to that could be how we integrate cancer into normal life.
In a decade, I predict 60% of patients will survive. In 50 years, that will be 90%. But can we beat the sense of helplessness and horror that accompanies a diagnosis?
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Title: We won't have to fear cancer soon
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 10734
Date Added: 25th Mar 2009