Article by Dr. Enrique Grande on the cure for cancer

Article by Dr. Enrique Grande on the cure for cancer

Dr. Enrique Grande, head of the Medical Oncology Service at MD Anderson Cáncer Center Madrid and promoter of the DIPCAN project, analyzes in this article the advances and challenges of curing cancer

Doctor Enrique Grande: Avances y retos de la cura contra el cáncerDr. Enrique Grande, head of the Medical Oncology Service at MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid and promoter of the DIPCAN project/Courtesy photo

Last February 4 marked the 23rd anniversary of the establishment of World Cancer Day, a date that aims to remind us annually of the importance of this disease – which continues to be one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality in the world – but it also sensitizes us about prevention and sheds light on advances in diagnosis and treatment.

An awareness that continues to be essential to continue researching, advancing and growing.

Not so many years ago, oncologists in hospitals were considered, in most cases, as mere “palliativists” given the lack of resources and tools we had to treat the disease.

But we have evolved a lot since then and now our specialty has become a priority within the health care and the resources that are used.

In this way, not only the treatment but also the prevention and early detection of cancer has been improved.

And it is thanks to this common effort that today 55.3% of male patients and 61.7% of women diagnosed with cancer at a general level are cured.

Important achievements in the oncology sector

Although we must continue to investigate and work hard to help the percentage of patients who do not succeed, the achievements that have been obtained in terms of diagnosis and treatment of the disease in recent years are important.

For example, it is essential to highlight early detection, the application of which has managed to increase the cases detected, which, in turn, has increased the survival and incidence of patients.

In addition, the development of policies to avoid smoking, a factor closely related to the development of lethal tumors (according to the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology, it continues to be responsible for up to 33% of cancers worldwide), has been a factor key in awareness to reduce the appearance of these tumors.

Finally, it is worth highlighting the important progress that has been made with regard to vaccination policies, since thanks to it it has been possible to prevent very common tumors such as cervical cancer.

Regarding treatment, I would highlight the enormous progress in technology to support surgery, such as robot-assisted surgery, which has opened many doors.

More modern and precise radiotherapy devices have also been created that have given patients the possibility of receiving specific treatments.

Finally, the development of “smart” drugs directed at specific molecular alterations is also making treatment and quality of life significantly improve, despite diagnosis.

Likewise, it is important to highlight the great progress that has been achieved thanks to studies and projects such as DIPCAN (Digitalization and Management of Personalized Medicine in Cancer), which allow, through the analysis of pathological anatomy, the development of a tool that could serve in research and daily clinical practice.

In this way, we are going to better understand the differences and similarities that metastatic solid tumors can have in our country.

All the information we collect will be analyzed through the use of artificial intelligence and from there we intend to extract algorithms with which we will try to help more patients so that they can receive the most appropriate treatment.

Cancer and progress: objectives and challenges for 2023

In 2023, and in the years to come, we must continue advancing to obtain better drugs and, above all, identify the patients who will be able to benefit the most from them.

In other words, the objective should be to better understand the neoplastic disease of each patient and direct our efforts to plan treatment in a more personalized way.

At this point, we can no longer offer the same treatment to patients with a tumor of a certain location regardless of the size of the metastasis, the symptoms or if there are other associated diseases.

For all this, we hope and hope that the DIPCAN study contributes its bit to better understand this devastating disease.

Headquarters of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid/Courtesy photo

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