The immunotherapy has managed to improve the data of chemotherapy in the patients of the Archipelago. This revolutionary technique, in addition to contributing to an increase in the quality of life of patients, has proven effective in inducing a good response in 50% of those affected by metastatic melanoma, compared to 5% obtained through chemotherapy. Very favorable data that are also extrapolated to pulmonary neoplasms, where the response rate also reaches 50%, while with chemotherapy the percentage did not even reach 20%. This was stated yesterday by Dr. Delvys Rodríguez, medical oncologist of the Insular-Maternal and Child University Hospital Complex, during your participation in the I Canary Congress of people with cancer and relatives, Canary Islands against cancer, that welcomes from yesterday, and until today, the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus of the Gran Canaria capital.
"The breakthrough in immunotherapy, in the case of melanoma, arose from 2011, with the appearance of a drug called Ipilimumab, which changed the natural history of this pathology in the following years," said the specialist. Insular Hospital. He also stressed that immunotherapy not only has succeeded in increasing the good response of patients, "but also makes it more durable, since immunity has a memory". He added that, "we can even talk about patients who have managed to free themselves from the disease".
Regarding lung cancer, the oncologist explained that, with the passage of time, medical professionals have been learning the way in which tumor cells hide from the immune system. "The mechanism they have to hide is through a marker called PD-L1." In those who have high expression of this marker, the response rate to treatment is around 50% and for another large group, the combination of chemo and immunotherapy induces a response that also reaches 50% ", clarified the health professional.
Precisely, on the combination of therapies to treat neoplasms, the doctor referred to the Hospital Insular, "presented a study that showed that the use of chemotherapy with immunotherapy reduces the risk of mortality by 50%." However, this application of joint therapies has only been used in clinical studies in the last five years. In daily practice, "is expected to arrive in our country from next January, since the technique was approved by the European Medicines Agency in September."
Also, the oncologist wanted to highlight the importance of patients and their families being informed of oncological innovations. In this sense, he took the opportunity to value the objective of the Congress. "Normally, when we pass consultation, we have very little time to talk with patients and their families, we can not explain in detail the innovations that occur," he argued.
Following this line, he emphasized that the meeting also allows professionals to address the different innovations produced in the different types of neoplasms, "not only focusing on one". However, he also alluded to the ability of citizens to prevent the appearance of certain cancers. "70% of the tumors that are produced today, could be prevented by quitting smoking, consuming a balanced diet, exercising physically, and decreasing alcohol intake," said Dr. Delvys Rodríguez.
Early diagnosis is another of the fundamental aspects of the prevention of this type of diseases. Faithful to this criterion, the doctor of the Insular Hospital wanted to remind attendees the importance of going to medical check-ups and undergoing tests such as those contemplated by screening programs for colon cancer, or in the case of women, performing the relevant mammograms.
As far as the most frequent neoplasms in the Canary Islands are concerned, the professional revealed that they are colon, breast, prostate and lung cancer. "Next November 17, we celebrate the International Day of Lung Cancer, a disease that is the first in mortality worldwide, in fact, more women die every year due to this pathology than for causes associated with breast cancer. ", he stressed.
The I Canary Congress of people with cancer and relatives, Canary Islands against cancer, organized by the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC), intends to act as a meeting point between patients, relatives and specialists. It is the first time that the Archipelago hosts a congress of these characteristics, in order to provide support and information to all those affected by this pathology.
The meeting counted yesterday with the presentations of different medical specialists of the Islands, the intervention of psychologists, and the celebration of numerous tables of dialogue. The inaugural act was the responsibility of the President of the Government, Fernando Clavijo.
At the meeting were also present the mayor of the Gran Canaria capital Augusto Hidalgo; the president of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Antonio Morales; the national president of the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC), Ignacio Muñoz; the president of the provincial board of Las Palmas, Fernando Fraile; and the president of the provincial board of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Juan Julio Hernández.
Throughout this day, will also take place the configuration of new round tables, and later, to close the meeting, will be announced the conclusions resulting from the celebration of this Congress.