As 2017 draws to a close, the American Cancer Society (ACS) recently looked back over the year, spotlighting the advances made in cancer screening, treatment and survival with its financial support.
CAR T-cell gene therapy boosted cancer treatment for childhood leukemia, with additional potential for addressing neuroblastoma, according to an ACS release. One-day regimens were developed targeting telomeres, structures located on chromosomes to thwart cancer cell growth.
Also, ACS’ Lung Cancer Dream Team, formed over two years ago, advanced work on a KRAS gene mutation responsible for certain lung cancers, the release said.
The society in 2017 reaffirmed the critical importance of lifestyle choices, especially diet. Being overweight increases the odds of uterine, liver, breast and colorectal cancer; moreover, approximately 42 percent of all cancer diagnoses and almost half of all cancer-related fatalities can be attributed to “modifiable risk factors” such as body weight, according to ACS.
ACS this year collaborated on a study with Atlanta’s Emory University and Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute that found that inadequate health insurance coverage plays a role in cancer outcomes, particularly among black women who have breast cancer.
On the horizon is a wearable optical device that aims to obtain images of tumor activity using infrared light in women receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer, according to ACS.
Additionally, ACS reminded adults that colonoscopies should begin earlier than age 50 for people who have family histories of colorectal cancer.
Finally, ACS launched a new website devoted to preparing cancer survivors for “re-entry” into their lives with the caveat that their previous profiles will have been altered after treatment, according to ACS. It aims to allay anxiety and information gaps and present coping methods for maintaining health.