In 2030 it will be possible to suffer from cancer and have a good expectation of a cure with a drop in mortality of 30%, the president-elect of the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO for its English acronym), Andrés Cervantes, tells Efe that places this hopeful scenario only in EU countries
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Andrés Cervantes is the head of oncology at the University Clinical Hospital of Valencia and participates as president-elect in the congress of European oncologists (ESMO, for its acronym in English)) which from September 9 to 13 brings together 25,000 professionals in Paris of cancer Cancer mortality is expected to fall by 30% in the EU by 2030.
The elected president of ESMO emphasizes that more important than reducing the incidence of cancer, which is increasing due to the aging of the population, is to offer expectations of a complete cure because cancer, he says, “is no longer what it was 20 years ago” .
This expert and director of the Incliva health research institute admits that today cancer is an increasingly curable disease with a longer natural course, close to chronicity.
Cervantes states that tumors with a higher incidence such as lung, breast, digestive, gynecological or prostate cancer will benefit from this expectation of a cure and, therefore, the increase in survival will have a greater effect on the overall population than if it were tumors with a lower prevalence.
50 years ago, five-year cancer patient survival was between 3 and 5%. Today, more than 60% are alive five years after diagnosis, which is a significant advance.
And the solution proposed by this oncologist and which will be debated these days in congress with European colleagues is to make progress in early diagnosis so that cancer can be treated at an early stage with less aggressive curative actions.
Universal blood test to detect cancer and stop its mortality
Cervantes explains that one of the conditions that has made it possible to make progress in the survival of cancer patients is early diagnosis and he emphasizes that before the imaging tests there would be these blood tests, which can detect with high reliability molecular disorders that indicate the presence of the tumor, and they can help start a treatment before the disease gives any kind of clinical manifestation.
In this way, treatment can be brought forward a year or two, but more important than time, this oncologist emphasizes the importance of allowing a non-aggressive curative action.
And he explains that this non-aggressive healing is what avoids surgeries that require amputations of limbs or organs or types of radiotherapy.
“What we intend – he says – is not only that the cancer is cured but that it is cured in such a way that it does not mean a decrease in the patient’s quality of life”.
Climate change and lung cancer in non-smokers
Another new aspect to be debated at the congress will be the link of climate change and toxic particles in the air to lung cancer among the non-smoking population.
Cervantes explains that at the congress he will present a guide on how to address in the future this exposure to toxic products that cannot be eliminated and that have a clear impact on the increase in lung cancer.
And the fact is that the congress wants to present advances to change the usual clinical practice and, according to this expert, the most effective approaches are cell therapy and immunotherapy.
He explains that personalized cell therapies are very effective in blood neoplasms, leukemias and lymphomas, but very striking results are also seen in solid tumors, in different types of lung cancer, of the digestive system and sarcomas.
Cervantes comments that in patients who receive immunotherapy the survival curve clearly improves, a situation that is also beginning to be observed in those with advanced disease who tended to zero and now have survival rates of 20% to 30%.
And with this optimal scenario for research, Cervantes believes that this year the message to convey from ESMO is that despite the pandemic, this edition will present important advances that will change the clinical practice of many types of cancer and will represent a significant step in improving the quality of life of the oncology patient.