The Future of Cancer: Affordable, Effective Treatment through Innovation

For most of us, receiving a cancer diagnosis from a doctor can create concern and anxiety because of the uncertainty surrounding the news. Some questions you might have include:

How will I be affected?

What impact will this have my family?

What is my long-term health outlook?

According to the World Health Organization, “one in six people will develop cancer in their lifetime, causing at least 10 million deaths from this disease every year.”

But the good news is that medical science has dramatically improved the outlook for cancer patients.

Dr Choo, along with many other oncologists worldwide sees how their patients benefit from increased clinical knowledge on how to manage cancer. This growing expertise is creating good changes for patients.

Decades of more significant investment into research and development – also known as clinical innovation – is paying off in the form of diagnosis tools and better treatments. In the not-so-distant future, receiving a diagnosis for cancer will be very different from what we knew.

A recent study in the United Kingdom found that “people are now on average twice as likely to survive at least 10 years after being diagnosed with cancer as they were at the start of the 1970s. These improvements in survival are partly due to earlier diagnosis – by way of screening programmes and advances in diagnostic tools, as well as more advanced treatment.”

In many countries worldwide, including Singapore, a cancer diagnosis can now involve a more robust set of technology tools to identify and deliver effective and personalised treatments.

Dr Choo shares her views on how precision medicines can lead to greater survival rates,

“With technology to figure out the genetics of each specific cancer, treatment can be more personalised and can potentially result in better outcomes”

According to a summary by Brigham & Women’s Hospital in the United States, “precision cancer medicine makes diagnosis of cancer and other diseases more accurate and evaluates the specific genetic makeup of their tumours to select the safest and most effective treatments for them.”

The use of innovative technology now means that in the near future, being diagnosed with cancer may now be seen like receiving care for other chronic diseases such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease. The mysteries of the disease which once caused fear amongst us all will now have disappeared.

Lastly, both public health systems and private insurance companies recognise the importance of making cancer care more affordable. They are both pursuing new paths to have innovative treatments for all conditions be more affordable.

The WHO shared that if government invest more in cancer care, they “can save 7 million lives by 2030. And that is at the cost of $2.70 per person in low-income countries and $8.15 cents per person in upper middle-income countries.”

Insurance companies are expanding their attention to help people stay healthy, which reduces the burden of getting sick. And when people do fall ill, including with cancer, insurance companies are re-inventing how people of any financial background can afford better care.

Here’s one example in Singapore from AIA. Through their AIA Power Critical Cover, they expand the types of coverage people can receive from insurance to include financial coverage for different medical conditions including early diagnosis and supporting multiple medical claims under the same policy.

In summary, now is an excellent time to seek out information to help you find ways to both receive the best care, and to find ways to afford newer, more innovative treatments should you or a loved one receives a cancer diagnosis.

Upcoming Webinar 

Ageing Asia and Roche would like to invite you to a 90-minute webinar programme - Ageing and Cancer: Empowering Seniors to Live Well with Cancer that will discuss how new technologies are enabling seniors to take more control over their lives when facing cancer. You will learn about the latest breakthroughs in personalised medicine, new digital tools that make treatment more affordable, as well as a pilot program underway to help Singaporeans with cancer.