Cancer is an illness that unfortunately will affect most of us at one time or another, either from being affected ourselves or having a loved one that is. While it’s still an incredibly scary disease, technology is bringing exciting changes that offer hope for better treatments and outcomes. Here are a few of the ways that tech is improving the future of cancer for us all.
Spotting cancer early is really is key to the best outcome, and new screening technologies are making this easier. For example, advancements in mammography technology have led to the development of digital breast tomosynthesis (also known as 3D mammography). Unlike traditional mammograms which provide a 2D image, DBT creates a 3D image of the breast, allowing radiologists to examine the tissue layer by layer. This improves the accuracy of detecting abnormalities and reduces false positive leading to earlier diagnosis and better outcomes for patients. Innovations in colonoscopy techniques too like high definition imaging and computer aided detection have improved the detection of colorectal polyps and early stage cancers.
The actual treatment for cancer once it’s discovered is also getting better because of improvning technology. New treatments are being developed that are able to specifically target cancer cells without damaging the healthy ones. Immunotherapy for example uses the body's own immune system to help it recognise and attack cancer cells. Advancements in precision medicine like next generation sequencing (NGS) and liquid biopsies also allow oncologists to find any specific genetic mutations in tumours and tailor treatment plans accordingly. By matching patients with the most appropriate therapies based on their genetic profile, precision medicine maximizes treatment efficacy and minimizes any adverse effects.
Technology is also improving the equipment that’s used in cancer care, from the imaging machines that can give an accurate diagnosis to the robotic surgical tools that are needed for precise operations. These advancements are massively improving cancer treatment. For example, PET-CT scanners combine PET and CT imaging techniques and can provide detailed information about the location and metabolic activity of tumours which helps in treatment planning and monitoring. Things like robotic assisted surgical systems like the Vinci Surgical System offer surgeons enhanced dexterity and visualization in procedures that are minimally invasive, leading to shorter recovery times and reduced complications.
As technology continues to advance, the future of cancer care looks really promising. AI and VR are starting to lead the way when it comes to diagnosis and treatment and improved screening methods, and improved treatments, patients get the benefit of ,ore personalised and effective care. The ongoing collaboration between technology innovators, healthcare professionals and oncology research all offers hope for better progress in the fight against cancer.
Curing all types of cancer completely remains challenging. Ongoing research and new treatments are all able to offer us hope for the future.