Cancer-Fighting Research

by BTM

Fri, 01 September 2017

Cancer-Fighting Research

Dr Shaker Al Sadi, consultant internist, haematologist and medical oncologist, outlines advances in cancer treatments that offer hope to patients.

The outlook for individuals with diseases in haematology and cancer is starkly different to 50 years ago. Today, people with some of the most common diseases in both specialities routinely live for years after diagnosis, and some cancers, previously considered untreatable, are responding to recent advances in precision medicine and immunotherapy.

Research accounts for many of the biggest advances of the last several decades, such as developing a life-extending treatment that effectively targets an aggressive blood cancer, helping women survive breast cancer without disfiguring surgery and proving that postsurgical chemotherapy can benefit patients with a range of cancers.

Advances in recent years include: introduction of three immunotherapies for the most common type of lung cancer; four new drugs for the treatment of CLL (leukaemia); two new immunotherapies for melanoma; and the first vaccine approved for cervical cancer – and there are numerous others.

For those who do contract the disease, it’s perfectly normal to be anxious about chemotherapy. To help manage these fears, the oncologist’s job is to discover what you’re afraid of – is it the possible side-effects, such as pain, fatigue or nausea; do you fear losing your hair, et cetera. Once the fears are identified, you can talk them through with doctors and specialist nurses. A support group also might be helpful.

Nowadays patients can take chemotherapy and go to work the same day and, thankfully, there are biologicals and targeted therapy that do not have the major side-effects of the traditional chemotherapy agents.

The key to the best treatment is good communication between the patient and the doctors. And always remember that the key to prevention and early diagnosis is self-checking and professional screening, which is available at King Abdullah Medical City.

Call 77 310-000.