Cancer is one of the biggest human afflictions. Every now and then, we need to stop by and see how far the medical, pharma and healthcare industries have gone in the global battle with this frightful disease.
Today, however, there’s a glimmer of hope, and we’re a bit optimistic as we witness a large amount of global research along with the enormous resources allocated by both government and non-government sectors to cancer research. As a result, the number of cancer-related deaths has been significantly dropping off over the last 20 years.
What’s the Current Status of Cancer Worldwide?
Looking into last figures and statistics, we’ll hit upon the fact that cancer is still one of the principal causes of death all over the world ─ unfortunately ─ with almost half of all cancer deaths at the age of 70 or older.
In 2017, around 100 million people across the globe were suffering from any of the forms of cancer, and an estimated 9.6 million people died from the lethal disease.
Overall, it’s estimated that one in every 5 men and one in every 6 women worldwide develop cancer during their lifetime, whilst one in every 8 men and one in every 11 women die from the awful disease.
The increasing number of cancer patients worldwide is attributable to many factors, including population growth and aging as well as the changing prevalence of certain causes of cancer linked to social and economic development.
What’s the Outlook for Cancer Treatments?
It looks like a mixed picture, neither rosy nor bleak. The good news is there are several advances, or breakthroughs, in various fronts that are making cancer a more controllable disease.
The new approaches are resting upon three pillars: personalized vaccines, cell therapy and gene editing ─ three technologies that are expected to rewrite the way cancer is treated.
Personalized Vaccines: Since we’ve discovered the huge variability between the different types of cancer as well as between patients with the same type of cancer, it, therefore, seems clear that there won’t be a jack-of-all-trades cure for the malicious disease, but, rather, each and every patient might in the near future be treated based upon their specific needs.
Cell Therapy: In 2018, we witnessed the first approval of cell therapy for cancer, the CAR-T cell therapy, which consists of taking immune T-cells from the patient and genetically engineering them to target a specific cancer antigen. This new technology might, however, need a few years until it’s used on a large scale in the cancer treatment market.
Gene Editing: CRISPR technology is a simple yet powerful tool for editing genomes. It allows researchers to easily alter DNA sequences and modify gene function. According to Sam Kulkarni, CEO of the Swiss company CRISPR Therapeutics, the “precision and efficiency of gene editing with CRISPR/Cas9 enables the rapid creation of CAR-T cell therapies that may have distinct advantages over the current generation of CAR-T products”.
Moreover, precision surgery, for example, will be controlled by robots, or surgery biopsies will identify malignant tissues in real-time, or be replaced by fluid biopsies.
New techniques also include monitoring devices, such as the one planned by Qloudlab which would allow patients to check blood cell counts at home.
Medical Translation Services in The Fight Against Cancer
On another level, we all acknowledge and encourage, the important role being played by social media cancer networks, which are increasingly doing a wonderful job all over the world ─ supporting cancer patients as well as providing them with information, confidence, and hope.
However, what about the millions of patients who do not speak or understand English? What is the solution to this challenge? In short, it’s just one thing: Medical Translation Services!
When it comes to preventive treatments and precision medicine for cancer patients, the first landmark down the road is definitely patients’ self-exams that will detect breast abnormalities, and then periodic checkups, and mammograms, which all help to detect cancer at an early stage and thus make it easier to beat it.
With all these stages, medical translation, by a professional medical translation company, is very important to help disseminate information, instructions and prepare all materials that support patients who speak multiple languages across the globe.
Let’s, however, take a concrete example on the ground. Last year, top on the list of the outcomes of most forum discussions about cancer has always been the need for creating a roadmap for the translation of early detection and diagnosis tests, as a resource to support researchers through the various stages, and guidelines for evidence generation, diagnostic development, clinical evaluation, and economic viability.
As for the question that always gets raised any time cancer is discussed, namely how we can move ahead with cancer prevention and early detection, the answer is always resting upon the issue of research ─ more investing in cancer research, accelerating research and translating research in order to bridge the gap between scientists and researchers who work on this fatal disease across the globe. Medical translation services are playing a vital role in this area.
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