Tackling breast cancer
General cancer mortality rates in Switzerland are falling continuouslythanks to medical progress and the achievements of the pharmaceutical industry in research. In most cases today, breast cancer can be overcome. But of course there are the times when this doesn’t happen.
Some one million people worldwide develop breast cancer every year. In Western Europe, it is even the most common form of cancer, and 6,200 women and 500 men are affected annually in Switzerland, most of them aged over 50. Younger people should also take care, however, as 25% of those diagnosed are below 50 years of age.
In breast cancer treatment, surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and radiotherapy have significantly improved the chances of recovery in recent years. Around 81% of the women and men with the disease are still alive five years after diagnosis, thanks to improved early detection and new therapy concepts. Despite this, however, 13% of patients are forced to live with metastatic disease.
Improving the lives of all patients is a major motivation for researchers in all fields – even if they don’t experience direct contact with the individuals themselves while working in the lab. But as long as the researchers don’t have a 100% perfect solution and haven’t helped all of those affected, they remain dissatisfied. You could also compare their approach to that of a chef wishing to create the perfect recipe for each individual guest. And in order to do so, they prepare the same dish countless times with minimal changes each time. Sometimes they might use less salt, sometimes more water, while sometimes they’ll turn the temperature up, and sometimes down. Until the recipe is adjusted precisely to the individual’s needs.
There’s still no recipe that can cure all breast cancer patients. By the researchers carry on. They keep researching.