By Simon Wilson, medical negligence expert and senior solicitor at Neil Hudgell Solicitors
Being given the devastating news that you, a family member, or even a close friend has cancer is something many of us fear most in terms of our health.
It is a life-changing moment, and one that sadly means very difficult times ahead for those affected, and of course those close to them.
In our work at Neil Hudgell Solicitors, we come into contact with many people whose lives have been affected by cancer, looking to support them and their families as they try and come to terms with their diagnosis.
Our specialists have come to understand the huge importance of early detection of all forms of cancer. It impacts on the level of treatment a patient may have to undergo, and ultimately their chances of fighting against the illness.
Unfortunately, as specialists in handling cancer claims, we often find ourselves supporting those for whom diagnosis has sadly come far too late.
There are still many cases of doctors failing to spot the early stages of cancer, or missing it completely and wrongly diagnosing their patient as suffering from something else.
It is with these cases in mind that it is wonderful to here of a new scientific breakthrough, from which scientists claim prostate cancer could soon be starved of its blood supply, preventing deadly tumours from growing and spreading.
It comes as Bristol and Nottingham universities have found that a single molecule plays a crucial role in the forming of blood vessels which supply tumours, making them survive and grow.
Stopping the production of these blood vessels prevents cancer cells from multiplying and spreading, something proved when injecting a drug three times a week into mice to stop the SRPK1 molecule working.
British researchers now say the new approach could be tested in patients within two years, potentially giving them the ability to stop other cancers spreading too.
Some 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in the UK, with 10,000 dying from the disease. As mentioned earlier, we see far too many cases of patients only finding out they are battling cancer when it is far too late.
Hopefully, with increased awareness of cancer through annual events like this month’s Movember campaign, and continued medical research, such breakthroughs will be more common, and mean that in not too distant a future, the phrase ‘it was caught too late’ will not be used so often.
Breakthroughs like this suggest the fight against cancer can, and will, be won.