‘Hardly improved outlook for metastatic cancer’

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Treatment of patients with metastatic cancer has barely improved in the past decade. This is the conclusion of the Integrated Cancer Center Netherlands (IKNL) in the report published today Metastatic cancer in the picture. Half of the patients whose cancer has already spread at diagnosis live six months or less after diagnosis. Ten years ago it was five months.

Professor Thijs Merkx of IKNL regrets how little progress has been made. “When you look at the investment that has been made in new drugs, the progress has been really disappointing.” About 38,000 Dutch people are diagnosed with metastatic cancer every year.

Some cancer types have progressed, such as melanoma, breast and prostate cancer. But in other types, including lung, bladder and pancreatic cancer, life expectancy has not improved or has only slightly improved. Lung cancer is the most common type of metastatic cancer. The outlook differs for each cancer type, but little progress has been made, especially with regard to aggressive cancers. In one in five cancer diagnoses, the cancer has spread.

The IKNL advocates for more attention to the quality of life of patients, both in terms of physical and emotional well-being and the social environment. “By asking what is important to the patient, the healthcare provider can work with the patient to determine how long he or she wants to be treated and at what cost.”





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