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Paul Sankey on cancer research: are we entering a golden era?

According to Cancer Research UK we are entering a ‘golden era’ of research into cancer and that our knowledge is increasing ‘exponentially’. The focus of that genetics.
One of the current mysteries in cancer treatment is why some drugs work for some patients but not for others when they apparently have the same cancer. Often the ‘miracle cures’ for which UK patients are tempted across the Atlantic to pay for expensive treatment are not effective at all. They may help a small number of people to a small degree but they are rarely cures. It saddens me to come across patients – as I do at times in my work – who are struggling with different forms of cancer but confused by misleading information they have found on the internet.
A 2 year project is due to start shortly looking at the genetic make-up of people’s tumours. The hope is that a better understanding of the genetics of a tumour will enable doctors to target drugs more precisely. The project is looking particularly at the commonest cancers – breast, bowel, lung, prostate, melanoma and ovarian – the areas involved in much of my medical negligence practice.
All advances in cancer treatment are of course to be welcomed, not least in the UK where our success rates in managing cancer are not as good as our European neighbours. I hope therefore that the charity’s up-beat assessment of the current state of cancer research is correct.Paul Sankey is a solicitor specialising in clinical negligence. If you or a member of your family have a clinical negligence enquiry please call our expert clinical negligence solicitors on 0800 916 9049, fill in our short online claim form or email and one of our specialist clinical negligence team will be in touch.