• Question: Do you think you will ever be able to cure cancer?

    Asked by lilylloydpippearson to Probash, David, Luna, Mark, Melanie on 24 Mar 2011 in Categories: . This question was also asked by mmsp, kathanhal, one23, higglebiggle, nemoanddory, libertyperry, kylejacko, martinaveale, xfunkymonkeyx, virtnack.
    • Photo: David Pyle

      David Pyle answered on 17 Mar 2011:

      Good question! It’s not my field, but I think that the answer is yes, at least for many of the ‘common’ forms of cancer. Medicine has made huge advances in developing drugs to fight some cancers, and in surgical techniques. For me the most significant advances which will affect us all in the future is the recognition of genetic signals and environmental factors which increase some people’s chances of getting some forms of cancer. This gives us a very good chance to catch cancers (through targeted screening) at a very early stage.

    • Photo: Luna Munoz

      Luna Munoz answered on 17 Mar 2011:

      Unfortunately, two of my friends have died of cancer. I hope that someone can find a cure, but my research will not find a cure for cancer. But I’ll keep my eye out in case I happen to stumble upon the cure when not expecting it!

    • Photo: Melanie Stefan

      Melanie Stefan answered on 17 Mar 2011:

      Probably yes. A lot of research has been done on cancer, and many forms of cancer are quite well curable nowadays if detected early. While there is still a long way to go, I’m quite optimistic about that one. I think early detection is a key point, so people need to be informed about the risks of cancer and about the necessity of having regular check-ups.

    • Photo: Mark Vesey

      Mark Vesey answered on 18 Mar 2011:

      I don’t know but treatments are improving all the time and survival rates are increasing so there is always hope.

    • Photo: Probash Chowdhury

      Probash Chowdhury answered on 24 Mar 2011:

      One day I hope so, I’m not sure there will be one pill or injection that will cure all cancers (although that is the holy grail). It is more likely that there will be a range of medicines designed to cure different types of cancer.

      The difficulty is that cancer cells are made from our own body’s cells so the immune system doesn’t recognise them as being foreign or damaged. The cancer cells have had their DNA altered making them divide uncontrollably. The cancer cells squeeze out the normal cells and take over them and so the organs stop functioning properly (that’s why it takes so long for a cancer to kill someone).

      There are various leads that scientists are following to try to cure cancer (I don’t know all of them) from fixing the DNA, to targeting and killing the cancer cells with drugs, to finding a difference in the cancer cells that the immune system can recognises as being different (so it can attack the cancer cells).

      At the moment cancer is treated with surgery to remove the main tumour followed by chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy to “mop up” any remaining cancer cells. Radiotherapy uses radiation to damage and kill the cancer cells. Chemotherapy uses very strong medicines to do the same. The problem with both these methods is trying to get the radiation or medicines to target only the cancer cells and not the normal cells because, as I said at the beginning, the cancer cells are our own body cells. Once this is cracked, this will open the flood gates to cancer cures. I’m sure of it.