While survival rates for most cancers continue to improve in Australia, brain cancers aren’t seeing the same success.
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Chemotherapy treatment can reduce immune function and the body’s ability to defend against opportunistic pathogens. It is well documented that people undergoing chemotherapy are at an increased risk of infection, including those transmitted via food. In fact, food poisoning like campylobacteriosis, listeriosis and salmonellosis are more prevalent among cancer patients.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide and the second-most-common cause of death from cancer.
Despite the disease being common, different people have very different chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer. Working out this chance for each person guides who will benefit most from ways to reduce risk. These can involve changes in diet and exercise, preventive medications, or even surgery in high-risk cases.
Brain cancers are the leading disease-related cause of death in Australian children. And survival rates have changed little in decades. As a paediatric oncologist, the worst conversation I can have with my patients or their parents is to tell them their tumour is incurable.
My hope is that we can replicate for brain cancer what has been achieved for leukaemia. The survival rate for the most common form of childhood leukaemia was once zero but today it’s 85%. To achieve this outcome for brain tumour patients, we will need to adopt a similar strategy as with leukaemia.