Until now, In this four part series Dr Richard Babor has focused on ways to reduce your risk of getting cancer. There is another side to the story, prevention.
With episode 3 he investigates how medical and technological breakthroughs are revolutionising cancer treatment and of course prevention.
In 2013 Angelina Jolie elected to have a double mastectomy despite showing no signs of cancer, she had discovered she had an 87% risk of developing breast cancer because she carried the defective BRCA1 gene. Following an article she wrote for the New York times, DNA testing for the BRCA1 mutation shot up 64%. This became known as the Angelina effect.
We have tests for most of the inherited cancer syndromes, so should we all be tested? The technology to detect genetic cancer has progressed enormously in recent years, but the implications to individuals and families must be taken into consideration.
Early detection is now the gold standard of cancer prevention, with advances in technology able to detect many precancerous stages. In the case of cervical cancer, any indication of the human papillomavirus or HPV is instrumental in revealing precancerous cells. HPV is also a common cause of many throat cancers, but through vaccination cervical cancer may soon be a thing of the past.
Dr. Babor also investigates how having the best possible cellular health can act as a preventative, and whether alternative and often expensive therapies can benefit us, or are they all smoke and mirrors?
Can genetic engineering remove the chances of your children and generations to come passing on genes that are susceptible to cancer? Or is this a form of unnatural selection? Is it ethical?
And what role do our canine friends have to play in early detection?
Most importantly in this episode he discusses what is available to us to help prevent cancer, and how important it is to harness this new technology for everyone.
Watch episode 3 on SBS now.