Apparently, when we talk about breast cancer, we always think of a single disease. But that's not really the case.
There are different forms in terms of the appearance of neoplastic cells and in terms of the disease state, with initial tumors and others that are in an advanced state. For this it is necessary that the response of doctors is always "tailored" based on the many variables that can come into play. This is one of the messages that emerges from the “It's time to live” campaign, promoted by Novartis Italia in collaboration with Salute Donna Onlus.
The importance of a multidisciplinary approach
The genetic and molecular characteristics of cancer cells play an important role in the development of a "personalized" approach. In general terms, in fact, tumors can be responsive to hormones, have the HER-2 receptor positive or be triple-negative, that is, they do not have specific attachment points of the cell on which to "target" the therapy. Then, obviously, in the approach to treatment, other parameters count, such as the age of the woman herself.
"The disease affects women at different ages and in each woman the tumor has specific characteristics" – continues Filippo de Braud, Full Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Milan, Director of the Specialty School in Oncology at the University of Milan, Director of the Oncohematology Foundation IRCCS Institute National Cancer. "Tracing a profile of the disease as personalized as possible is the first step in setting up a targeted therapeutic approach and a multidisciplinary treatment path, which takes into account the unique characteristics of each woman". Obviously, in this path, the woman must always have the specialist who follows her at her side, but on the basis of a multidisciplinary approach, which allows to examine all the facets of the situation. “This is a real necessity, also considering that the tumor can be identified at different levels of severity” – continues De Braud. "Today, thanks to therapies, we can also respond to forms of metastatic cancer, about 7000 every year in Italy, with hopes of recovery and in any case to be able to offer significant results thanks to the therapy, in terms of improving disease-free survival. for the woman. Obviously, alongside these results, there is a need to study exactly what the patient presents on a case by case basis. In our Institute this multidisciplinary evaluation is carried out many times every week, since we follow many patients, and it is essential to be able to really offer every woman the optimal treatment ”.
In short, even under the emotional aspect, answers must be given. And thanks to the "360 degrees" attention to the patient, today, even in the forms of metastatic breast cancer that sometimes also affect younger women, before menopause, for which there are specific innovative treatments, we can offer what is needed . Waiting for science to propose further steps forward.