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Friday, October 07, 2022

Barbacid: “There will be more cancer, and there will be more survival”

Biochemist and researcher Mariano Barbacid says that the incidence of cancer will increase in the coming years due to the aging of the population, who, however, emphasizes that the overall survival of all cancers will increase, as drugs become increasingly ” less harmful and less”. toxic.

In an interview at the Congress that the European Society of Medical Oncology celebrates in Paris, Barbacid makes it clear that cancers should be given “names and surnames”, as research moves too quickly into certain tumors, such as breast or prostate. with survival between 90% and 95%; While the survival chances in others are “unacceptable”, such as the pancreas, less than 5%.

Although mortality rates for many types of cancer are falling, often thanks to changes in habits such as reduced tobacco consumption, Barbacid recalls that there are other cancers, such as pancreatic cancer and glioblastoma (brain tumours), “that resist” And both increased incidence and death are observed in growth. Barbacid, who discovered the KRAS oncogene responsible for the onset of pancreatic cancer 40 years ago, admits that there is no effective solution to combat it today, adding that “the drugs have been given for the last century and immunotherapy doesn’t work.” “.

This expert, who created the first Spanish National Cancer Center (CNIO), emphasizes that early detection is a fundamental tool in all tumors, but it is not possible in pancreatic tumours, “which does not warn and that is why that it is so difficult to behave”.

They believe that tests to detect the presence of tumor DNA in the blood when there are no symptoms of the disease or, at least, when the cancer has not spread, may be a reality “one day”, but it is likely that He does not look into the near horizon.

He admits that it is important to detect “when it can be done” (for example, colonoscopy for colon cancer, PSA analysis for prostate cancer, or mammography for breast cancer), but there are tumors that today , are not benefiting from these tests, such as those of the pancreas or lungs.

Barbacid says that cancer is not a disease, but a group of more than a hundred, very different from each other, some progressing rapidly and others slowly, and this is something that has not yet been has not been assimilated.

For this scientist, it is important for society to see that progress is being made, but there are many difficulties, because “the process is slow and the only solution is to investigate, today and tomorrow.” Barbacid is committed to the importance of acquiring healthy habits, as he says it will lead to better survival, particularly in lung cancer, which is about 20% over five years.

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