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University of Manchester to mark World Cancer Day

‘Not Beyond Us,’ this years slogan for World Cancer Day, highlights that through research it is possible to find a real solution to tackle cancer.

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The 4th of February will be World Cancer Day, a great opportunity to raise awareness about cancer on a global level. It is an initiative organized by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), one of the major non-governmental organizations, who collaborates with UN.

According to UICC, every year 8.2 million of people die from cancer and more than a third are premature deaths of people between 30 and 69 years old. In the majority of cases this disease is curable if discovered early enough.

A plethora of options to prevent and treat cancer are now available thanks to new research findings in the last few decades, and this positivity is reflected in the new slogan of World Cancer Day, “Not beyond us”.

The University of Manchester (UoM) plays a crucial role in the global struggle to tackle cancer. Research involves the study of cancer from a molecular and cellular level to further development, as well as testing of new drugs and other new, innovative therapies. Physical, emotional and economic impacts of cancer are also examined and treated.

1.5 million of women suffering from breast cancer have now a better chance to fight this disease due to endocrine therapies developed at UoM, and researchers have also increased the life expectancy of 25% of people with lung cancer after their diagnosis.

Philanthropic donations contribute significantly to achieve this important results at the University. They support the construction and the maintenance of new buildings and they fund research students.

The Manchester Cancer Research Centre will open in Withington this year, as a new project developed by the collaboration of The Christie, Cancer Research UK and the University of Manchester. The South Manchester centre will operate in order to provide innovative and personalized cancer treatments to an increasing number of people.

Professor Nic Jones, the research centre’s director, said: “Manchester Cancer Research Centre aims to improve understanding of how cancer develops, in order to translate basic and clinical research into new treatments that benefit cancer patients in Manchester and across the world.”

“Our vision is to develop a personalised medicine strategy that spans the entire patient’s journey from diagnosis to treatment.”

In Manchester, Ph. D students are currently working along with world-class scientists to tackle cancer and they represent key contributors to this research. Many of them are funded by UoM alumni, friends and staff.

Patty Doran, a second year Ph. D student at the University of Manchester, said: “For my Ph. D research I am looking into the impact of older people’s social networks on cancer treatment outcomes. This research will bring together the fields of ageing, cancer treatment, and social support. My hypothesis is that if you have access to support when you are making treatment decisions, you are likely to receive more treatment than those without support.

“The funding for my three-year PhD comes from University of Manchester Alumni, through the Research Impact Scholarship. I am very grateful for the opportunity to spend three years learning new research skills, and applying these to contribute new knowledge to the area of older people and cancer treatment inequalities.

“The social support needs of cancer patients are often overlooked, however with cancer treatments and survival outcomes improving, now is an opportune time to look at cancer differently, to engage in multidisciplinary work, and to increase knowledge of the patient and their cancer journey.

“As put by Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, “Measuring success by one and five-year survival rates is simply no longer enough. We must see the reality–and the people–behind the numbers” (Cancer’s Uneven Burden, MCS, 2014:5). So here I am, continuing my quest for reality.”

Little donations can make a difference, such as small contributions of £10 a month donated by alumni and friends of the University of Manchester every year. If you would like to join this fight against cancer and help UoM to carry on with researches, you can make a donation at https://your.manchester.ac.uk/support-manchester/donate.