It is estimated that, each year, there are 14.1 million new cases of cancer, a figure which is expected to rise to 24 million by 20351. World Cancer Day is recognised annually on February 4th to unite the world’s population and raise awareness of the affects cancer has on an individual, as well as their family. For the healthcare industry, it is also a day to accelerate progress in the fight against the disease.
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells, which can spread and attack multiple areas of the body. It is not just one disease, but instead, a collective name given to describe a large group of them2.
Cancer starts with variations in one or a small group of cells. Normally, the human body has the optimum number of each type of cell. This is because cells produce signals to control how much and how often the cells divide. If any of these signals are faulty or missing, cells may start to expand and multiply too much, resulting in the formation of a lump, often referred to as a tumour. Additionally, some types of cancers, such as leukaemias, start from blood cells which don’t form solid tumours but rather build up in the blood and occasionally, the bone marrow3.
Most recent statistics have revealed lung cancer as the most common form of cancer, making up 13% of the total number of new cases diagnosed worldwide. Female breast is currently ranked second, with nearly 1.7 million new cases identified in 2012 (11.9%). Colorectal (also known as bowel) and prostate cancer complete the four most common cancers worldwide, with over 1.4 million cases of colorectal and 1.1 million of prostate detected in 2012. These four forms of cancer account for around 4 in 10 of all cancers worldwide1.
If diagnosed at an early stage, before it has had the chance to increase in size or spread, cancer is more likely to be treated successfully. Additionally, an early diagnosis ensures patients receive the most effective and appropriate treatment. If not diagnosed early, treatment becomes increasingly difficult, and fundamentally, decreases a person’s chances of survival.
Research has shown positive statistics for cancer survival ratings when detected early, highlighting the importance of the availability of appropriate and innovative diagnostics tests. For example, around 70% of those with lung cancer will survive for at least one year if diagnosed at the earliest stage compared to 14% for those diagnosed at a more advanced stage.
It has also been reported that around 1 in 4 cancers in the UK are diagnosed through emergency hospital admissions. Most patients diagnosed in this way then have lower chances of survival compared to other patients as it is usually at a late, advanced stage3. These figures only emphasize the value and significance of effective diagnostic tests to ensure diseases including cancer are identified as early as possible to administer receive the most beneficial treatment.
Our team of Molecular scientists have developed prognostic tests across a variety of disease areas, including oncology. Our objective is to improve diagnostics globally and as early detection is key in effectively treating illnesses such as cancer with the appropriate treatment regime, we have developed tests including our KRAS/BRAF/PIK3CA Multiplex Array to achieve this. Our PCR based test simultaneously detects 20 mutations within three genes commonly implicated in colorectal cancer, the world’s third most common cancer. Current treatment options for colorectal cancer are limited, therefore, identification of the correct treatment course for individuals is of paramount importance to achieve the greatest outcome. With results reported within 3 hours, the KRAS/BRAF/PIK3CA array delivers a rapid and accurate diagnosis, enabling oncologists to select the right therapy for specific tumour types and administer treatment promptly. Additionally, whilst designed for colorectal cancer, the array also has implications for mutation screening in other cancer types, including lung cancer.
This World Cancer Day, we are urging the population to not only help raise awareness of cancer globally but also educate themselves on its signs and symptoms. As a global diagnostic company, we at Randox Biosciences, are committed to the ongoing development of diagnostic tests, as well as our research into numerous disease areas to improve health worldwide.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
*PIK3CA for research use only
1-World Cancer Research Fund International
2-World Health Organisation
3-Cancer Research UK