Today I want to share with you an edited version of a chapter in the book Breast cancer: what we all need to know, by Professor Ronald Wasike, Professor & Consultant Breast Surgeon, The Aga Khan University.
Today nearly every women’s magazine carries articles on breast cancer. The month of October – as the official breast cancer awareness month – brings thousands of people together for breast cancer walks, races, pink ribbon awareness luncheons, and educational seminars, all targeting the disease.
The goal is always to raise funds for research and for better treatments and an eventual cure.
When I’m feeling down because a patient I have become close to has succumbed to this disease, I only need to visit the breast cancer Research Labs at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore in the US to feel hopeful for future patients.
I have been involved in cancer research for the last 12 years, specifically looking at advances in breast cancer treatment. I have recently published a book – Breast cancer: what we all need to know – which is aimed at people diagnosed with breast cancer as part of an effort to help them and their families cope better.
Great progress has been made in the fight against breast cancer over the last three decades. It’s important not to lose sight of these.
There have been breakthroughs ranging from the diagnosis to the treatment including new surgical techniques and drug combinations in the management of breast cancer in the last two decades.
These are only a partial list of breakthroughs that have happened in a little more than a decade.
More research underway
In addition to these breakthroughs there are other treatments that are in their clinical trial stages. These include:
A cure in our lifetime
We are developing a better understanding of why and how breast cancer spreads recognising that if we could prevent it from ever spreading, frankly, no one would die of this disease.
In laboratories, petri dishes breast cancer cells are being studied to further understand what stimulates them to grow and thrive. There’s also exciting research looking at ways to prevent breast tissue from ever allowing cells to mutate into a breast cancer cell.
I am confident that in our lifetime we will have the opportunity to see this disease listed in medical books in the chapter under “cured diseases” where polio is listed today. Until then, I’ll be looking for you at future breast cancer events, proudly wearing your pink hat or T-shirt proclaiming that you are a breast cancer survivor.
This article first appeared on The Conversation – view original.