Let’s face it. Everything has felt pretty heavy recently. The news cycle is saturated with hard-to-digest information, filled with horrors daily. But, this little — well, actually, rather large crumb – of good news for our health was exactly what we needed to hear today.
Thanks to research funded by Cancer Research, there has been a cervical cancer treatment breakthrough that means deaths could be cut by 35%.
According to the INTERLACE trial, who undertook the research, found that those who were given a short course of chemotherapy before beginning regular treatment cut the risk of the disease returning by 35%.
Dr Mary McCormack, the lead investigator of the trial from University College London’s Cancer Institute and University College London hospital, said that this was the “biggest improvement in outcome in this disease in over 20 years.”
“I’m incredibly proud of all the patients who participated in the trial; their contribution has allowed us to gather the evidence needed to improve treatment of cervical cancer patients everywhere,” she said.
Each year, over 3,000 people are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and Britain’s rates for screening attendance are way behind Europe’s.
Cancer Research explains that, since 1999, cervical cancer has been treated with chemoradiation — or CRT for short. This is a combo of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
What the INTERLACE trial found, was that prescribing six weeks of induction chemotherapy prior to CRT helped more people survive their brush with the big C, without ever hearing from it again.
Dr Iain Foulkes, executive director of research and innovation at Cancer Research UK said when it comes to treating cancer, “Timing is everything.”
He continues, “The simple act of adding induction chemotherapy to the start of chemoradiation treatment for cervical cancer has delivered remarkable results in this trial.”
Part of what makes this news so positive is that the two chemotherapy drugs are already approved for use, are easily accessible and as such, can be rolled out pretty quickly.
This means more and more women and folks assigned female at birth (AFAB) can expect better odds of life-long survival from cancer. And, amidst calls for a more feminist approach to cancer care, this is welcome news indeed.
Foulkes said: “We’re excited for the improvements this trial could bring to cervical cancer treatment and hope short courses of induction chemotherapy will be rapidly adopted in the clinic.”