I am Professor Elsken van der Wall, Internist-Oncologist and President of the UMC Utrecht Cancer Centre. Over the past years I have dedicated myself to the fight against breast cancer and have invested in better patient information. During the next five years I will develop and implement the Personalized Cancer Care key strategy program.
What does Personalized Cancer Care entail?
Personalized Cancer Care represents the unique treatment of tumours based on the genetic profile. Each patient and each tumour is unique. The Personalized Cancer Care key strategy program focuses on:
- gastrointestinal and liver cancer
- breast cancer
We are getting better at diagnosing the genetic profile of a tumour. This is important because faulty genes in tumours form faulty proteins. Based on the genetic profile, we can develop medicines that turn off these faulty proteins so we can treat each unique tumour in a unique way in future.
Our cancer research also focuses on intensive screening, which enables us to take action before tumours occur.
We are studying women with a high risk of developing breast cancer to monitor whether there may be specific abnormal genes in the nipple fluid that indicate that cancer is developing. We can then start immediate treatment.
A next step would be to study this in the stools of people with a greater risk of developing cancer of the colon.
In five years, 750,000 people in the Netherlands will have cancer, according to calculations by the Dutch Cancer Society. This represents four percent of the population! We will not be able to eliminate cancer, but we can help to change cancer into a chronic disease that can be tolerated. Cancer is no longer a death sentence as a matter of course.
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