Why we don’t have a cure for cancer

The search for a cure is ongoing and yet we have no guarantee of beating this disease. We have chemotherapy and radiation. These treatments have saved so many lives, but these treatments also harm healthy cells.

Cancer is an umbrella term, not a defined diagnosis

There are more than 200 diseases that fall under the umbrella of cancer. Every cancer has a different set of mutations. The mutations of a single tumour, can mutate as well. This means that even the cells of a single tumour aren’t always identical. A drug that can work on one patient can be used on a different patient with the same type of cancer and have no effect at all.

Cancer mutates. A treatment that works really well can stop working at any time. Normal cells have the instruction to stop regenerating or dividing, it is in our DNA. Cancer cells have corrupted DNA. It often has nothing to keep it from dividing and replicating.

Technically, even freckles on your skin are examples of damaged DNA, as it does not have the same colour as the rest of your skin. Sometimes, these freckles turn into moles. These moles can turn into malignant cancer. This is why skin cancer is so dangerous – your entire body is covered in skin, with the potential to become cancerous if you do not take care to protect yourself from sun damage.

There is hope

We don’t have a vaccine for “cancer”. We do however have a much better idea of preventing many types of cancer. We know the dangers of smoking, drinking alcohol and unhealthy life choices. We know to use proper sunscreen and protective clothing. We know to eat healthier, fresher food.

We also have some vaccines that can protect us from certain types of cancer. Hepatitis vaccines protect us from liver damage that can become cancerous, known as cirrhosis. We also have the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine that can protect women from cervical cancer.

Our current therapies and treatments have no guarantees, however, statistically we are slowly increasing our odds.

Only 50 years ago, the chances of survival for patients with cancer was estimated to be an average of 25%. As of 2021, estimates are at 50%.

It is important to discuss any concerns with your doctor, and to go for regular screening. This will include cervical smears, breast examinations and screening for prostate problems. Our wellness clinics have a variety of screening services available. Book an appointment on 0137555547

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