Every year, three and a half million women around the world die of cancer, six thousands of them in Catalonia. Some of these tumors are only found in women, like ovarian and cervical cancer. Others are most common in women, like breast, and other present unique characteristics, such as lung cancer, which is on the rise among women, who started smoking later.
In the fight to limit its impact and mortality, several factors are key and must be paid special attention. On one hand, studying the biology of cancer is essential to understanding its mechanisms, weaknesses and ways of presenting, as well as for designing more effective treatments. On the other, knowledge allows doctors to more precisely establish each woman’s susceptibility to the disease and develop better prevention and early detection tools. Moreover, patients’ associations are playing an increasingly active and important role in the fight for their rights and improving quality of life.
To debate the current situation, as well as the challenges and advances in women’s cancer, several top international experts met for a session organized by B·Debate, Women’s Cancer, an initiative of Biocat and the “la Caixa” Foundation to promote scientific debate.
Studies of the biology of cancer are leading to new treatment ideas, whether through precision medicine, immunotherapy or attacking telomeres, to name just a few.
- Scientists are looking for new gene signatures and models to calculate women’s susceptibility to cancer, which would improve early detection and treatment outcomes.
One of the preventative treatments that is expected to become widespread is the vaccine for human papilloma virus, which is highly effective in protecting against cervical cancer.
- The doctor-patient relationship and access to information are two of the most important aspects of increasingly participative medicine.