We all have a story to tell and no matter who you are – a mother, a son, a best friend – cancer will change your life forever. But with research, we can change the story and help Canadians affected by cancer to live their lives to the fullest. Together we can change the face of cancer.
For decades, typical – or standard of care – cancer treatments included surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Research continues to find new approaches to treating cancer such as epigenetics and immunotherapy as well as combinations of therapies.
There are more than 100 different kinds of cancer. Each one is treated according the type of cancer and the stage of the disease. A specific genetic mutation may be associated with the cancer and so on. You and your doctor can decide on what cancer treatment is best for you based on what therapies are currently available.
Chemotherapy destroys rapidly dividing cells, like cancer cells, or slows their growth.
Surgery is a medical procedure to examine, remove or repair tissue.
Radiation therapy works by damaging a cell’s DNA so that rapidly dividing cells, like cancer cells, are destroyed or stop growing.
Targeted therapy uses drugs to target molecules in cancer cells to stop them from growing and spreading.
Cancer vaccines are made to recognize proteins on certain cancer cells. This helps the immune system to recognize and attack those cancer cells.
Immunotherapy helps to strengthen or restore the immune system’s ability to fight cancer.
Switching key genes ON or OFF to help destroy cancer cells.
Helps avoid drug resistance, and disrupt cancer in different ways that can ultimately be more powerful than one drug alone.
All cancer treatments are authorized by Health Canada after they are determined to be safe and effective. Clinical trials are research studies that test new ways to prevent, detect, treat or manage cancer (or other diseases). As combinations of treatments become more effective ways for cancer patients to become long-term survivors, clinical trials become more essential to assess the widening array of combinations where even the sequence of which treatment is administered may be as critical as the dose and frequency of a treatment.
Most of the standard cancer treatments used today were first shown to be effective through clinical trials. So not only are clinical trials essential to demonstrate which new treatments are safe and effective, participation in a clinical trial may be an important option for a person with cancer or someone at risk for developing cancer. People decide for themselves whether or not they want to participate in a clinical trial.
To help you understand, your doctor, nurse or another member of the clinical trial team will walk you through a very detailed “informed consent” document that provides background information about the research being done, what will be required of you, and the treatments being used in the trial. Signing the document indicates that you understand what to expect, but informed consent does not end when you sign the document. Informed consent is an ongoing process.
For a current list of clinical trials, try the following websites:
Canadian Cancer Trials (Clinical trials in all Canadian provinces)
ClinicalTrials.gov (Database of privately and publicly funded clinical studies conducted around the world)
National Cancer Institute (Clinical trials in Canada, United States and around the world)
Traditionally, cancer research focused on individual cancers, such as breast, lung, colorectal, prostate, etc. Both Stand Up To Cancer Canada and the Canadian Cancer Society have supported research on such individual cancers. SU2C Canada and CCS have also supported research which has identified genetic mutations that are associated with multiple cancers and discovered underlying mechanisms of cancer and common approaches to treatment, for example, harnessing the immune system. This has brought about significant advances in immunotherapy and epigenetics, among other approaches, resulting in game-changing new opportunities to treat cancer.
We’ve also learned that combinations of treatments are often most effective, offering durable responses so cancer patients become long-term cancer survivors. Researchers are now developing advanced computational approaches involving Artificial Intelligence, physics, engineering and technologies to study thousands of combinations, or to determine which patients may be most responsive to – or likely to develop resistance to – a treatment.
This body of information continues to grow, and it’s important for people facing cancer and their loved ones facing a cancer diagnosis to ask questions and consider the latest research advances that might highlight the most effective treatment for their cancer.
100% of your donation will benefit Stand Up To Cancer Canada and Canadian Cancer Society’s joint scientific projects in Canada.