HeritX: Putting Prevention First This National Cancer Prevention Month
February is National Cancer Prevention Month. It is intended to put cancer squarely in the public eye. The hope is that one day, there will be enough research done to find ways to not only detect, treat and cure cancer but to prevent it from occurring in the first place.
Sadly, as it stands now, cancer is still one of the leading causes of death in both the U.S. and around the world. Particularly concerning is the trajectory of new cancer cases. The annual number of new cancer cases increases steadily, with a global increase predicted as high as 70 percent over the next 20 years. Only doing something before cancer occurs – i.e., cancer prevention – can reverse this trend, spare people from cancer and ultimately eliminate the disease.
What drives National Cancer Prevention Month?
This month helps people understand how cancer works as well as the steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing it, such as utlizing the latest advances in precision medicine.
There are a countless number of articles, blogs and news segments to help people lead healthier lives in the hopes of keeping cancer at bay—such as healthy eating and exercise regimens—and to help people understand breakthroughs in cancer treatment.
While that is all well and good, why isn’t there more focus on preventing cancer beyond lifestyle changes and treating cancer that has already occurred?
Isn’t it time to put prevention of cancer as a whole first and foremost, especially for patients that are most likely to develop cancer despite life style changes? After all, treatment after the fact can’t spare patients the traumatic and toxic experience cancer includes. It also cannot impact the steady rise in new cancer patients or the related explosion in the cost cancer care; only preventive therapies can.
So, why isn’t preventing cancer before it starts a priority?
Though there are a lot of different factors that contribute to not putting a preventive therapy first, one of the biggest ones is that effort and money are put into something more immediately tangible—treatment.
Think about it: If you were a company or a researcher looking to create the next great breakthrough in the cancer arena, what incentive would you have to peruse something that has no starting point?
The fact is, you wouldn’t, and it’s because the bottom line is this: Developing the next step in anything is faster, easier and more profitable starting something from scratch, which is just as true with regards to finding a preventive cancer therapy.
There is also the amount of time it takes to develop a therapy. On average, it currently takes approximately 15 years to take an idea to the FDA-approval stage, which doesn’t even include the amount of time it takes to come up with an idea in the first place.
What is HeritX doing to prevent cancer?
At HeritX, we are leading the charge in cancer prevention using our accelerated roadmap and BRCA gene mutations as the key to unlocking the secret of cancer development. We bring the best minds together from different fields—as well as input from BRCA-affected families—to create the best ideas for preventive therapies. Then, we carry these ideas forward, not slowly and phase-by-phase, but through parallel work streams so that all phases of development start right away. In doing so, we can anticipate hurdles for all phases early on and come up with solutions before they halt any progress.
By using this unique method, we strive to significantly cut down the amount of time it takes for a potential therapy to be available for people. Our end goal is to find preventive therapies for inherited cancer—and ultimately other cancers—starting with the BRCA gene mutation.
Most importantly, we are driven by the encouragement of cancer-affected families whom we serve, many of whom are friends, loved ones or even ourselves.
In short, we are the embodiment of National Cancer Prevention Month because we are here to stop cancer in its tracks before it starts, one preventive therapy at a time.
To learn more about what we do or find out how you can help, contact us today.