Feb 04, 2020

By Jane Brown

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Today is World Cancer Day; a day to reflect on how far cancer research has come but acknowledge how far we still have to go.

The theme for this year’s World Cancer Day is I Am And I Will.

Doctor Aaron Schimmer is the director or research at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto.

“This is about a sense of empowerment, that one is going to stand up locally in one’s community, and stands up within the global context,” Schimmer explained to Zoomer Radio/Classical FM News.

As for the advancements in cancer research. Doctor Schimmer says we now understand that cancer is fundamentally a disease or genetic mutations.

“By that I don’t mean it’s genetic abnormalities that you get from parents or pass to kids, but genetic mutations that occur spontaneously in the cancer cell,” Shimmer explained, “And we’re now able to understand those very detailed genetic changes, even at the very single cell level of that individual cancer cell and we’re now harnessing that information to develop new ways to detect cancer, and in fact, the ability to detect cancer potentially earlier than we normally do at the point when they are potentially more curable through surgery.”

Dr Schimmer says the other big advance this past year is the ability to harness the immune system to attack and destroy cancers.

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