4 Things You Need to Know About Cancer in 2016
Prevention & Treatment Over 1.6 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year, across all ages. Here’s the latest in research and treatment.
1. Cancer doesn’t discriminate
Although survival rates have improved in recent decades, childhood cancer is still the leading cause of death by disease past infancy among children in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute. And yet, childhood cancers, collectively, receive only 4 percent of U.S. federal cancer research funding.
Due to the differing biological makeup of children versus adults, childhood cancer requires unique research and treatment methods. For example, while carcinomas are more common in adults, children often face tumors in developing organs and tissues, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Increasing childhood cancer funding and support is essential in saving the lives of children currently suffering from this disease, as well as preventing future diagnoses.
2. Immunotherapy is showing great promise
We’re finding new hope through the innovative treatment option, immunotherapy. With many patients experiencing long-lasting results, immunotherapies increase the strength of immune responses against tumors, according to the National Cancer Institute, and are a valuable alternative to traditional treatment options.
The types of immunotherapy treatments vary incredibly according to patient, disease and severity. Some cancer immunotherapy treatments have proven particularly successful against metastatic melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer with historically poor outcomes. For metastatic melanoma patients alone, one of the first immunotherapy treatments to be approved by the FDA, ipilimumab (Yervoy) has increased life expectancy to more than three years for 1 in 5 patients after receiving a diagnosis.
3. Clinical trials are vital
When treatment options have been exhausted, clinical trials should be considered. These studies serve as the foundation for medical research, and yet still fall short in enrollment.
Clinical research professionals, including doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, are dedicated to understanding new therapies and treatments that have the potential to unlock cures to some of the deadliest diseases and epidemics. Unfortunately, the benefits to these studies are not widely known and participation levels remain low. Clinical trials have proven successful for many patients with severe cases and extremely rare diseases—for both children and adults. Participation is beneficial to each patient in a study, as well as future patients and the industry as a whole.
4. There are more resources than ever before
After a diagnosis, returning home and adjusting to a new lifestyle and reality is challenging not only for the patient, but the entire family. Friends and family are essential, but don’t have to be the only support system. Many communities across the country have services to help caregivers and patients, such as support groups, hospice care and financial-aid. Ultimately, it’s important for families to know they’re not alone in this fight.