The human population has had lengthy struggles trying to understand cancer. It has baffled many as it represents itself in numerous forms, and its features are exceedingly varied. Cancer requires specialist aggressive prognoses, innovative approach to its management, and early and fast response to it treatment. All these have dire economic implications to patients and their families. It is possible that a single type of cancer may behave entirely different in two patients presenting the likelihood of two types of diseases (Mukheerjee, 2010, p.1). There is no uniform theory regarding cancer that gives the common characteristics of various types of cancer. This, therefore, has been the undoing in the search for the cure of the growth of malignant cells that are essentially cancer. Cancer is an enemy of the human population, its shape shifts persistently. Many researchers have been disillusioned with this astonishing disease, and their researches they have engaged in have gobbled lots of money without finding the ultimate cure. The discoveries they have been making do not see the light of the day, therapeutic suggestions are disastrous, and the disease revelations they make result in the increase of miseries that surround the disease. The economics involved in the management of cancer have been immense. Various approaches have been explored in coming up with the cure of different types of cancers but with no substantial hope of finding a cure. The different approaches and explorations have had varying costs and exhibited a range of benefits (Mukheerjee, 2010, p.1). The cost and benefits dynamics that have been displayed in the management of cancer are worth exploring.
In the mid-19th century, Rudolf Virchow, made an identification of a singular important feature of cancer, that it involves uncontrolled multiplication of body cells. The cause could not be identified then, but the search of probable cure of the various types of cancers began earnestly. Physicians went in overdrive in trying to manage the disease. Surgeons believed that surgical knives will be essential in cutting of the affected body parts thus preventing further abnormal cell multiplication. With all this, the cancers recurred creating more confusion. It was baffling that extensive procedures like deep-skin surgery did not stop the growth of malignant cells. The pathology science made advancements resulting in recognition of leukemia and lymphomas as red blood cells cancers (Mukheerjee, 2010, p.1). In this situation, the whole of the lymphatic systems or bone marrow could not be cut off, but some surgeons tried it. Progressively, the use of chemotherapeutic drugs in containing was desperately used, as single prescriptions or being combined by other drugs to kill the abnormal malignant cells. X-rays and other radiation technologies were extensively involved in the management of cancer since it was known that these technologies were effective in causing death of cells. These were concentrated on lymph glands, secondary cancers that had spread in the bones, brain, and the lungs. All these management initiatives were expensive to inculcate in healthcare. Most patients lacked the economic muscles to foot the ever ballooning medical bills. Families’ savings were depleted resulting in many families plunging into poverty
Many practitioners were at the forefront in claiming advances. After the Second World War, the prevailing scientific optimism led to Dr. Sidney Farber, an American oncologist, to give a postulation of discovery of a universal cure of all types of cancer. Screening programs that were focused on cervical and breast cancer were successful in laying bare that detection and subsequent management was possible at earlier stages of the cancers. The advances made in diagnoses and subsequent treatment did not yield any noticeable benefits. The war on cancer was going tough without any wins. The advancement in diagnoses and subsequent treatment was actually accompanied with an increase in deaths resulting from cancers. The message was firmly written on the wall; a lot was required to be understood about the causes of cancer before any meaningful advances could be achieved in finding the ultimate cure.
Success on the curative front was not forthcoming; finding a cure remained an exceedingly hard task. More discoveries about cancer from scientists emerged. This off-course was coupled with huge costs that went down the drain. Healthcare budgets of research institutions had to be increased to expand the various research initiatives. Occupations such as chimney sweeping caused the cancer of the scrotum on the sweepers, dye manufacturers were affected by bladder cancer, Radium, the source of X-ray radiation, had led to severe malignant cell growths in Marie Curie and the research she worked with, and asbestos handlers succumbed to biting tumors found on membranes. With these identifications came the hard task of understanding the common thread in these discoveries that could not be connected (Mukheerjee, 2010. p.1). This situation forced scientists to go back to the fundamentals. It was discovered that cancerous cells multiply in a mad manner. The cells cause secretion of compounds that lead to blood vessels proliferation that enhance their growth enabling them to get through the walls of organs close by. The underlying aspect of the various causes of malignant cell growth was inducing damage of the genetics. The cells continuously multiply, and mutation of abnormal cells occurs. These mutations cause a whole new range of characteristics that make the malignant cells become resistant to chemotherapy, and the cells develop the ability to form new colonies in far parts of the body. Ultimately, a unifying theory about the cause of cancers had been established. This has involved many scientists and huge sums of money being poured in research. The deaths caused by cancers affected economies as able-bodied, most productive members of society succumbed to this crude disease. Surprisingly, some types of cancers were gotten in places of work leading to people abandoning following particular careers hence slow dormancy or death in these careers.
With the discovery of a unifying theory on the causes of cancer, many medications have been developed to counter the malady. The costs involved are large, and drug companies are increasingly under pressure to outline that the medical treatments they produce actually generate excellent health benefits (Sun et al., 2010, p.1). Cancer treatment involves new therapies that are quite expensive, but which have potential to register huge gains in terms of life-expectancy. There has great progress made in cancer treatment. Between the years 1975 and 2000, the half-decade survival rate of cancer patients increased by almost 16 percent from 50 percent to 66 percent. This has afforded cancer patients more time to live. The life expectancy gains have been notable in breast cancer patients, but another type of cancers like pancreatic and lung cancer have registered less impressive results (Sun et al., 2010, p.1). Better screening of cancer, which grew over several years, has impacted better cancer treatments. The costs of cancer treatment keep shooting up incredibly. In several instances, most payers decline to enroll in a treatment plan because they empirically they think the cancer survival benefits do not match the high costs to be incurred. Against this backdrop and dwindling incomes in families, many people and corporate engage in building a donation plan and endowments to cater for the treatment needs of cancer patients. However, it is noticeable that improved cancer survival gains are driven by public health efforts and better technologies. These two have been crucial in promoting early detection of the various cancers (Sun et al., 2010, p.1). The cancer survival gains registered are attributed to improved screening, detection, and improved treatment. The increased life expectancy has huge lifetime values in terms of increased lifetime incomes (Sun et al., 2010, p.1). As the year progress, the lifetime value of extra years added on the lives of cancer patients has outstripped lifetime costs of cancer treatment. Therefore, value of cancer survival gains is immense and cannot be wished away. Additionally, improved cancer survivals are due to better treatments.
In cancer treatment, killing cancer cells is easier. However, it is hard to kill the cancerous cells while sparing the healthy ones (T, 2012, p.1). Currently, many therapies are indiscriminately applied. Researchers have been actively developing to forge a therapy that only concentrates on the cancerous cells. This will be by use of antibodies that target the cancerous cells. An antibody is essentially a protein, which get bound to the invading organism that hostile to the body called the antigen. The antibody usually purposes to destroy the antigen or communicates to the immune system to deal with the antigen (T, 2012, p.1). In cancer treatment, both the antibody and the drugs are conjugated to form antibody-drug conjugates. The work of the antibody is delivering the drug to the part of the body that has malignant growth of cells. However, the use of conjugates to deliver the drug to cancerous cells has profound challenges. Some antibody and drug conjugate effectively slow growth of tumors, but it does not destroy them permanently. When administered with standard chemotherapy, the cancer treatment results are promising.
An antibody-drug conjugate trigger fewer complications compared to standard treatment of cancers. Some of the side effects of these conjugates are; they cause impaired liver function and clotting of blood. Those treated with antibody-drug conjugate experience a longer delay re-emergence of the cancers compared to those on standard treatment. Notably, the cancer patients on the antibody-drug conjugate treatment stay long than those undergoing chemotherapy or standard treatment schedules. From the foregoing, it is noticeable that the antibody-drug conjugate treatment confers more benefits than standard procedures. The patients on this medication have an enhanced lifespan, they are exposed to few side effects, and their health is more stable. The continued research in an antibody-drug conjugate medication is crucial for the advancement of cancer treatment. More tests or the various drugs are necessary to ascertain their side effects and their efficiency. Winning the war over cancer is important for economic advancement since freeing people from the effects of cancer enhances their life expectancy. Additionally, prevention and treatment of cancer frees lots of money used up in healthcare to be used in supporting other economic initiatives.
Cancer survival means improved performance in the job places and businesses. Many cancer patients are no longer condemned to an early death. They can go about their businesses and jobs for much longer as compared to the early days. The situation enables them to contribute to income accumulation of their families and their countries. Notably, research and development costs incurred in cancer disease translate to numerous social gains. The social value that is gained from cancer research and development programs is immense. The programs enable scientists to identify best the best ways people can avoid developing cancer. This information can be relayed to the public who can purpose to inculcate it into their lifestyles thus avoiding this disease. Therefore, the economic returns that accompany the investment in cancer research and development programs are immense both for individuals and countries. Among producers of pharmaceuticals that are patented, the physicians involved in treatment, and patients, the patients are the ones who experience bigger gains in the cancer management circle (Sun et al, 2010, p.1)
The cancer ailments are of various types. Oral cancer is a type of cancer developed from chewing tobacco enhanced products. India registers the higher rates of oral cancer in the world. This majorly common among poor Indians addicted to nicotine. They develop a habit of chewing gutka which is cheap compared to cigarettes are expensive. Gutka is a preparation of acacia extract, tobacco and betel nut that is crushed (The Economist, 2012, p.1). The chewable form of tobacco exposes many people to destructive tobacco use which result in many people developing oral cancer. The gutka is packed in plastic sachets, and there are reports of adulteration of this tobacco concoction which make it exceedingly toxic. About 5.6 million Indians die of cancer annually, and most of them live in the rural areas. These unfortunate deaths are usually due to oral cancer that comes about because of tobacco. Essentially, oral cancer leads to loss of young lives, of energetic young people who are better placed to deliver on the economic front. Eventually, getting the Indians to stop chewing gutka will save consumers from dying prematurely. The removal of this tobacco preparation from the Indian culture will enable the consumers to avoid contracting cancers, have more years to concentrate on their jobs and businesses, and eventually grow and diverse their economy.
Elsewhere, cancer has devastating effects in regions and countries where populations are poor and cannot afford the cancer drugs (C, 2013, p.1). Public health education can play a big role in educating communities on initiatives to avoid contracting cancer. Many cancers result due the kind of lifestyles people adopt. The life of cancer patients depends on these drugs and their unavailability spell doom for the patients. It is therefore, upon governments to procure these drugs in time to avoid any inconveniences that can be caused to the cancer patients. Less bureaucratic and efficient governments enable efficient accessibility of drugs that help to ease the suffering of cancer patients. Drug regulation should also be adequate to enhance the procurement of the right kind of drugs that meet the standards, or are of high quality. The public cannot be left on their own devices in the management of cancer, but this war calls for cooperation among pharmaceutical companies, physicians, authorities and finally the patients. Meaningful cooperation can result in economic gains for patients and governments, and a successful war against this dreaded disease leading to healthy, productive populations.
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