It is estimated that 1 in 2 people will get some form of cancer during their lifetime, which means that all of us are likely to, in some way, be affected by the disease. Thankfully, breakthroughs in medicine are happening everyday, improving survival rates across the world. These, from medical travel specialists Medigo, are the key things you should bear in mind:
Everyday, doctors and scientists around the world are discovering more about the human body and the diseases that affect it. For example, we now know that there are certain lifestyle choices that can increase our risks of developing cancer. While genes also play a significant role, not smoking, leading an active lifestyle and eating a well-balanced diet have all been found to decrease our risks of developing the disease.
Improvements in survival rates
Cancer survival rates have been improving steadily for about thirty years, albeit unevenly among different forms of cancer. In the UK, for example, cancer survival rates have doubled since the 70s, largely because of wider access to screening tests, new treatments, and better awareness of a range of health risks such as smoking and obesity.
Some examples of screening tests include widespread breast screening for women, catching breast cancer in its early stages. Cancer Research UK states that 78% of those who experience breast cancer survive for 10 or more years after treatment, and the overall survival rates for the disease has doubled in the past forty years. Colonoscopies have a dual-benefit of also identifying early-stage colorectal cancer and even avoiding cancer altogether by identifying pre-cancerous growths called polyps.
Preventive measures include the HPV vaccine, which has been revolutionary for cervical cancer, and even proper food preparation, which has been shown to remove bacteria that can increase the likelihood of stomach cancer.
Treatment methods available
There are over 200 forms of cancer, and each patient has different circumstances, so treatments methods are always tailored to a patient’s individual needs. The most common cancer treatments are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. And these well-known methods are now joined by newer treatments like immunotherapy and targeted therapies.
As scientists continue to make progress against cancer, side effects from treatments become more manageable. And when a patient doesn’t react positively to one course of treatment treatment, there are now many other treatment options available for patients to keep cancer at bay.
Dr Jan Schaefer is Chief Medical Officer at Medigo, the leading booking platform for safe medical travel.