In an article in The Straits Times, Feb 2012, haematologist oncologist Dr Daryl Tan shares his insights on how blood cancer treatment is undergoing breakthroughs like never before.
What are the breakthroughs in Blood Cancer Treatment?
The development of more targeted and safer chemotherapy drugs in recent years has drastically improved the cure rates and diagnosis of different types of blood cancer, including lymphoma, leukaemia, and myeloma. These advancements in medical research have instilled hope for finding a cure for blood cancer treatment within our lifetime. The availability of new drugs and the assimilation of research into clinical practice means the distinction between terminal and potentially curable cancer is becoming less clear.
A little-known fact about Haemato-oncology (Blood Cancer)
Blood cancer has the potential to spread throughout the entire body since blood circulates throughout. Typically, by the time blood cancer is diagnosed, it has already spread. However, even at advanced stages, there is still potential for a cure.
Evolution of Blood Cancer Treatment
There are two main types of blood cancer: chronic cases, which are typically incurable and terminal, and acute cases, which have a higher chance of being cured. Current research aims to prolong survival rates for chronic cases and increase the likelihood of a cure for acute cases. Treatment approaches have evolved over time. Previously, diseases were aggressively targeted with intensive chemotherapy and stem-cell transplantation. However, the focus has shifted to using targeted, new drugs that work more intelligently. This shift has allowed many elderly patients, who were previously unable to tolerate the side effects of intensive chemotherapy, to be treated with these smarter drugs.
About Dr Daryl Tan
Dr Daryl Tan is a Specialist in Blood Disorders. His expertise in lymphoma and multiple myeloma was acknowledged by the publication of two lead-author review articles on their respective treatment guidelines in Lancet Oncology in 2014.
Find out more about Dr Daryl Tan and his work.