How simpler, faster breast cancer treatment approaches can help treat more patients, enhance experience

According to the World Health Organization, cancer is the leading cause of death globally, accounting for 10 million, or one in six deaths in 2020. In India too, cancer is a leading cause of death, with 7.84 lakh deaths recorded in 2018 and 13.92 lakh cases reported in 2020.

Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. Women around the globe are falling prey to this disease. The number of women diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020 was 2.3 million and the death toll of 6,85,000. In the past 5 years, 7.8 million women had been diagnosed with breast cancer, making it the most prevalent cancer in the world at the end of 2020.

While the number of cases for breast cancer is on a rise, we can also see new innovation taking birth to help reduce the disease burden. Today's treatments can alter the course of breast cancer and maintain quality of life while altering its course.

A number of new therapeutic options have been developed in recent years that greatly improve the survival rates of patients with stage 4, or metastatic, breast cancer.

Treatment options for breast cancer

Researchers and medical professionals are working towards innovating and finding better ways to detect and treat breast cancer, and improve the quality of life of the patients while reducing the burden on healthcare system.

Breast cancer is a type of cancer that is treated with various combinations of radiotherapy, surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy and hormonal therapy, depending on the stage of cancer and other factors like age, medical history and mutation status. However, it is a curable disease.

Traditionally, these therapies are time-consuming with patients spending longer periods of time on the hospital beds. Chemotherapy, radiation and surgery are a process of about 6-7 months. Modern methods, on the other hand, are reducing the treatment time while making it easier and faster to administer.

Complex, tough diseases can be cured with effective and speedy treatment strategies, and different experiments are still going on to revolutionize cancer treatment. We have seen a number of drugs for the treatment of breast cancer being approved and consumed by patients in last five years.

Benefits of new treatment

The new treatments are aimed at reducing the time spent for a treatment in the hospital and improving the quality of life. The patient can instead spend that time with their loved ones or going about their life.

With the reduced time spent in hospital, it is faster to administer. New therapies and treatments can be administered faster than the traditional therapies.

Faster administration develops confidence and frees up time for everyone (patients, caregivers, doctors and paramedical personnel), resulting in shorter appointments and more time for HCPs to serve more patients.

It also benefits the healthcare system by reducing the healthcare load by freeing up beds sooner, providing HCPs more time to serve more patients, and saving healthcare systems money.

New ground-breaking medicines can save time for patients with breast cancer and improve their quality of life by dramatically lowering their in-clinic time. Patients and caregivers can spend less time in the hospital and more time doing what they enjoy. It will also improve the efficiency of healthcare systems because it will take less time to prepare and administer.

Have we reached our destination to cure?

The chances of finding a one-size-fits-all cure are slim.

A variety of methods are being investigated, including gene editing, that could benefit future treatments. However, researchers are testing new treatments on a continuous basis to find a cure.

New treatments are being found every year for metastatic breast cancer that can help improve the survival rates. This new generation of therapies is much safer and more effective than previous ones. It could eventually eliminate harsher therapies such as chemotherapy. Thus, cancer treatment will also improve a person's quality of life.

The author is a Padma Shri Awardee and Principal Director-Max Oncology Daycare Centre, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi (India), Former Dean (Academics), AIIMS, New Delhi.

Source : DNA India