We need to talk about cancer…in a different way.
Cancer used to be a taboo word, a fatal sentence, a curse.
However, in the last few years we have witnessed many advances that transformed the way we deal with cancer: molecular testing has become a reality in clinical practice; a better understanding of the cancer genome gave rise to a new generation of targeted, more effective, and better-tolerated therapies; and the immune system has been mobilised in the treatment of certain cancers. Even ‘traditional’ treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy are becoming more tolerable thanks to advances in supportive care.
As a digital communications agency specialising in cancer, and as publishers of online medical education channels, we have witnessed the consequences of these advances through our work with patients, patient advocates, and healthcare professionals. As patients became increasingly informed, their conversations with their doctors and with their families have changed, empowering them to take a more active role in the management of their disease. Terms such as ‘chronic disease’ and ‘potential cure’ have finally become part of the cancer conversation.
Now is a good time to change the way we talk about cancer, from what cancer can do to us to what we can do to fight it. This year’s World Cancer Day campaign continues with the theme: We can. I can, to remind us that although a lot remains to be done, we can all, as individuals and as groups do something to reduce the burden of cancer.
We could not think of a better way to honour World Cancer Day 2017 than to share a story that is very close to our heart at Brandcast Health. This is the story of Deborah Sims (www.abtandme.com), who was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and was given a bleak prognosis. Deborah refused to give up and travelled the world in search of clinical advances that could treat her cancer, eventually enrolling in a successful clinical trial. Five years on, she is now cancer-free. Her message on World Cancer Day is ‘arm yourself with information, connect with others and believe that you can beat cancer!’