• Question: As a result of all the money being donated to cancer research, have scientists/doctors been able to find a cure

    Asked by 937fasp46 to Miriam, Marton, Laura, David on 8 Nov 2018.
    • Photo: Laura Kent

      Laura Kent answered on 8 Nov 2018:

      Cancer is a very complicated disease and as such it is very difficult to treat all cancers with one treatment. Some forms of cancers have very effective treatments whereas others do not. So we still have lot more to do. One of the more promising universal treatments encourages your own immune system to combat the cancer but this is still in the early stages of development.

      This isnt really my area of research but I hope that helps to answer your question!

    • Photo: Marton Olbei

      Marton Olbei answered on 8 Nov 2018:

      The thing about cancer is, that it’s not just one disease, or even a disease in the conventional sense. It’s not an infection or an injury, it’s about a cell in your body starting to behave differently, trying to grow like it’s a standalone organism – but the way that cell goes crazy can happen in _ a lot _ of different ways. We call them the same thing, “cancer”, but they are very different in how they should be treated.

      The good news is that there have been huge leaps in knowledge and treatment for a lot of types of cancer. Of course it depends on the type of cancer, but overall cancer survival has doubled in the past 40 years in the UK! That is a huge improvement. We still have a long way to go, but the future looks promising in my opinion.

    • Photo: Miriam Hogg

      Miriam Hogg answered on 9 Nov 2018:

      That is a hard question because cancer isn’t a virus or bacteria like other diseases. It our own body misbehaving!

      Our body is fantastic at finding intruders like a virus and getting rid of them, and when we struggle with it there are drugs that can help our body fight the invader off. But cancer isn’t an intruder!

      Humans are made of cells, those cells do all the things we need to survive. Cells reproduce by making a copy of themselves but those copies aren’t always perfect. Normally the cell can tell something is wrong and self destructs to keep us safe. But very occasionally it doesn’t and then we get a bad cell that’s not behaving as it should. If that bad cell reproduces a lot it can make lots of bad cells and if they are damaging our body they are called cancer. (You can also get harmless bad cells that don’t damage us, but just get in the way)

      We can get lots of different types of cancers because we have lots of different parts and organs and they all have cells where this can happen. The money going into cancer research finds different ways to destroy the cancer cells but different types need different treatments. There has been some work into nanotechnology which hopes to send little robots into the human body to destroy the cells, or using chemicals to ‘tag’ the cancer cells so our immune system can find and destroy them.

      There are dozens of other treatment ideas that are being researched thanks to the funding, so maybe one day there will be a 100% survival rate (its already so much better than it was just 50 years ago, so we’re doing pretty well I think)

      It’s not my area but I hope it was a good explanation!