Dr. Anil Kapoor was the keynote speaker at a kidney cancer treatment and emerging therapies public information session on Thursday evening at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC). Dr. Kapoor is a leading researcher and uro-oncologist from St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton and Chair of the Medical Advisory Board for Kidney Cancer Canada, The focus of his visit to Thunder Bay was to educate and inform providers, patients and families from across the Northwest Region about emerging kidney cancer treatments with a take home message that there is hope.
“When patients are diagnosed with stage 4 cancer they are upset. But, with these new drugs that are coming out, there is hope for patients to live a long life. With our continuing research we’re hoping to cure kidney cancer,” says Kapoor.
This new research focuses on two classes of drugs: a type that inhibits growth of cancer cells, and a type that helps to boost the body’s immune system so it can fight the cancer cells. “Cancer cells require nutrition to grow and spread. In order to do this, they need to grow blood vessels to supply them with the nutrients they need,” explains Kapoor. “The first type of drug that we can use to treat patients inhibits, or blocks, the molecule that is required for the blood vessels to grow.”
With respect to the second class of drugs, which fall under the ‘immuno-oncology drugs’, there have been significant advances in the last 6 months. “Our body is constantly exposed to cancer cells, and normally, our immune systems are able to kill these cells. However, patients with a metastatic cancer can have an immune system that is overwhelmed and unable to kill these cancer cells. So these new drugs are able to supercharge the body’s immune system to help it fight these cells. We are excited about the promise they are showing for kidney cancer patients,” says Kapoor.
These new treatment developments are invaluable to the patients and families who can benefit from them. This year, it is estimated that 6,200 Canadians will be diagnosed with kidney cancer and 1,800 will die from it. Kidney cancer is not screened for or detected easily. It is known as a ‘silent killer’ as it is usually detected incidentally, when health professionals aren’t initially looking for cancer, but they find it.
Pat Sevean, kidney cancer survivor and Board Member with Kidney Cancer Canada, shared her cancer story at the event. She helped to spearhead the information session with fellow board member Deb Sidor who is from Dryden. “When I was going through my cancer experience I was looking for more information on kidney cancer. It has always been my goal to bring this information to our region. This session with Dr. Kapoor helps to increase awareness about this disease, and more importantly, it brings some hope to people who have kidney cancer,” says Sevean.
To view an archived video of the event or for more information about kidney cancer and kidney cancer patient supports, visit: www.kidneycancercanada.ca. There are a variety of supports available, including information, about their 7th Annual Patient Education Conference which will be held in Toronto on March 5th, 2016.
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