Here’s a stunning statistic: 1 in 3 Americans will contract cancer in their lifetimes. 600,000 people will die from cancer this year.
Cancer is a disease whose death toll is incalculable at this point. But researchers across the globe have b
een working to improve cancer treatment and preventative care.
At the annual American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) conference, and other similar events this year, those same doctors and researchers have presented their progress. Here’s are a few impressive innovations in cancer treatment to expect in 2018.
Dr. Coussen Introduces Exciting New Treatment at the AACR Conference
At this year’s AACR conference, Dr. Lisa Coussen presented a new cancer treatment. It aims to treat cancer like a chronic disease. Coussen has been running clinical trials that regulate tumors through immune pathways. Doing this can slow or halt their growth.
Coussen’s research won’t cure cancer. But when coupled with cancer patient support programs, this clinical approach should allow patients to live longer, higher-quality lives with less pain.
At this same conference, Dr. Tony Hunter from the Salk Institute also introduced 26 new FDA approved drugs that can treat cancer as well.
Consumer BRCA Testing
BRCA is a gene that is often mutated and leads to breast, ovarian, and other types of cancer. In March, the FDA approved an at-home test kit that allows consumers to check to see if they 3 BRCA gene mutations that precede cancer.
The test-kit requires a saliva sample. The company 23andMe will then analyze it. Unfortunately, there are over 1,000 known BRCA gene mutations. So this test only scrapes the surface, but it’s a good start.
Intraoperative Breast Cancer Radiation
Typically, the surgery to remove tumors from your breasts, and the following radiation therapy, are two different treatments.
Yet, Dr. Shawna Willey, the chief of surgery at the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is blazing a new trail. She has been delivering localized radiation treatment in one fell swoop during surgeries. This is a form of cancer therapy called Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT).
A study of over 3,000 women with breast cancer that had intraoperative radiation therapy found that the mortality rates of these women and women that had more conventional radiation therapy were the same.
This isn’t particularly heartening news. But, the IORT group had far fewer serious complications as a result of radiation therapy. This makes the case that IORT can lead to a higher quality of life for those undergoing cancer treatments.
Also, having fewer trips to the hospital would make the patient experience far better. Unfortunately, women with more advanced stages of breast cancer had a higher rate of recurrence.
This is why researchers determined that IORT is best used among women in the early stages of cancer.
Are You a Hospital Administrator?
These innovations in cancer therapy like the ones presented by the AACR paint a sunny view of the future. As medical professionals, we have to keep looking for ways to provide better and more cost-effective treatment.
If you’re a hospital administrator looking to improve your hospital’s oncological services, consider taking some time to look at our cancer management services.