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World Cancer Day: awareness in focus

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We look back at milestones in cancer research and progressions discussed by key healthcare specialists.

Several significant innovations have shaped the course of cancer treatment in the past year; however, the common denominator remains to be early detection.

In 2020, there was reportedly a 40 per cent drop in patients diagnosed with cancer globally, highlighting the disruption the pandemic has had on cancer care.

While the number of cancer patients is projected to increase in the coming years, the world is also on the cusp of new cancer treatments that include approaches in immuno-oncology and molecular oncology.

The free 2021 Oncology report was developed with data-driven insights from leading technology research provider Omdia, and with the support of UCLA Health, which offers inpatient and outpatient cancer care at hospitals on its campus and community-based oncology practices across Southern California.

Its pages deep dive into the impact of COVID-19 on cancer care and oncology diagnostic equipment, along with projections for the years ahead.

The report also looks at how a new CAR T approach minimises resistance and helps avoid relapse in non-Hodgkin’s B-cell lymphoma, and how quality in cancer care can be ensured through new techniques.

Breast Cancer Awareness 

While 31st October marked the last day of global breast cancer awareness month, championing awareness and encouraging precautionary measures continued for oncologists.

Coping through a breast cancer diagnosis is life-altering, with the journey towards recovery being a process. Treatments and procedures may be overwhelming; therefore a multidisciplinary approach that helps patients navigate through options post-mastectomy is vital.

Dr. Raffi Gurunian, MD from Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi broke down the relationship between reconstructive plastic surgeons and surgical oncologists, and how it creates successful postoperative outcomes.

Prevention of prostate cancer

In 2018, prostate cancer was the second most common malignancy (after lung cancer) in men globally, with 1,276,106 new cases and 358,989 fatalities (3.8 per cent of all cancer deaths in men). According to WHO, presently there are 1.41 million cases worldwide. Dr. Aftab Bhatti, Consultant Urologist, Tawam Hospital, part of Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), Dr. Hosam Al Qudah Consultant and Lead Urologist and Dr. Omer Al-Derwish Consultant Urologist from Fakeeh University Hospital, discussed how diagnostics and treatments have changed through innovation.

Dr. Hosam Al Qudah said, "In the past, detection and diagnosis were through ultrasounds and biopsies, however, now there is a prevalence in using MRIs. MRIs are beneficial for diagnosis, staging and follow-ups for patients with prostate cancer. We use MRIs now in almost all patients before the biopsy of prostate cancer, as it can detect nodules as small as five millimetres in the prostate. It also stratifies the nodules from benign or cancerous. There is a staging class and classification for this, known as PI RADS, which helps us determine if we need to conduct a biopsy or not.

It is key to use new generation MRIs, such as 3 tesla, which are recommended for the use of detection. The old machines are unable to detect accurately due to poor imaging quality."

Insight into oligometastatic and gastrointestinal cancers

At Arab Health 2022, Dr. Kiran Turaga, Professor of Surgery, Vice Chief, Section of General Surgery and Surgical Oncology, Director, Surgical Gastrointestinal Cancer Program, Director, Regional Therapeutics Program, UChicago Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, U.S., discussed curing stage four 4 cancer and understanding oligometastatic cancer. Dr. Turaga is a surgical oncologist who has been with UChicago Medicine for over five years. In an interview with Omnia Health Magazine, he discusses metastatic cancers, heated chemotherapy, gastrointestinal cancers and more. 

"Metastatic cancer has a terrible prognosis and is often treated with chemotherapy. I discuss a phenotype of patients first described by some of the scientists at the University of Chicago back in the 1990s. There is a state of cancer metastasis that isn’t necessarily fatal. They called it oligometastatic cancer, describing it as existing between cancer that is contained to where it originated and one that has spread extensively throughout the body," said Dr. Turaga.

Treating sarcomas with technology and a multidisciplinary approach

At the online Orthopaedics conference as part of Arab Health 2022, Dr. Joel Mayerson, Director, Division of Orthopaedic Oncology, The James, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbus, Ohio, U.S., presented a live tumor board, where a group of sarcoma physicians that meet every week from all the specialities involved in the care of sarcoma, will come together to talk about patient cases and optimising their care.

From a reconstructive standpoint, Dr. Mayerson shared that customized 3D printed implants are coming into the market. “We are also using 3D printing to devise cost custom cutting guides. When we know where the core is at, we can cut closer and accurately to the tumor and use the 3D printed implants that are made to fill the void accurately and decisively where we’ve removed the bone or the tumor to be put in.”

Another advancement is the use of osseointegration for patients who have had trouble after an amputation. Osseointegration involves placing a metal rod inside the amputated patient’s bone. A small portion sticks out of their skin, and the skin is treated in a particular way to adhere to the bone to try to decrease the risk of infection. They can then snap on the prosthetic to the end of that piece of metal that allows them not to have the problems they had while using a socket, and they can walk better.

 

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