The therapeutic arsenal available for breast cancer until 15 to 20 years ago was only cytostatics – the well-known chemotherapy. The main disadvantage is its limited specificity to exclusively attack the tumor cell, which also affects healthy cells. Recently new therapies have been introduced aimed at a specific goal and we have witnessed a real boom with the development of a new family of targeted therapies -orals- called tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
New surgical and radiotherapeutic techniques and the introduction of population programs in diagnosis have also been a novelty. On the one hand, the development of more elaborate surgical techniques has contributed to an improvement in the control of the disease or in the quality of life of the patients. For example, the establishment of conservative surgeries in breast cancer has had a fundamental impact on the quality of life of many survivors of this disease who can preserve the breast with reasonable aesthetic results.
In the same line, the introduction of new technology applied to the field of radiotherapy has allowed more intensive local treatments and with better immediate and delayed tolerance. New radiosurgery techniques on brain metastases, radiofrequency on liver lesions or intensity modulated radiotherapy are good examples of novel treatments that have modified the treatments of this disease.
On the other hand, the introduction of early diagnosis programs in breast, cervical or colon cancer is responsible for the fact that the spectrum of malignant tumors has changed, since they help detect cancer when it is in very early stages, which allows you to treat it more successfully. Studies have shown that these new therapies have had an important impact in reducing cancer mortality since the 1980s.
In fact, there is a decrease between 28-65% in mortality, thanks to this, in breast cancer. In the future we must apply what we have learned and innovate, maintaining the form of work that has brought us so many successes. However, even today unanswered questions arise. The age of recommendation to start and finish screening tests is still under debate. On the other hand, the emergence of new imaging techniques or laboratory opens up possibilities still unexplored on its application within early diagnosis programs in other types of cancer.
Regarding oncological surgery, it is also a field in constant evolution. Surgical innovations always have a positive impact. The main consequence, in the clinical setting, is the growing need for collaboration between units, services or even between hospitals. Finally, we begin to glimpse a future full of hope for the patient with breast cancer and exciting for the doctor and the cancer researcher.
Although some would say that her biggest hobby is working, in her free time the doctor enjoys reading, movies, hiking, nature and their grandchildren. “His vision of the world enriches me,” he says of them with satisfaction.