Cancer Milestones

The ancient physician Hippocrates described the projection of blood vessels from a collection of cells as ‘karkinos’, the Greek word for crab. Today, we know this malignant growth as cancer. Although it remains one of our biggest killers, survival rates for several tumour types have improved dramatically in recent years. These Milestones celebrate two decades of breakthroughs in basic, translational and clinical research which have revolutionised our understanding and management of cancer.

This Milestone is editorially independent, produced with financial support from a third party. About this content.

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1) How to tackle global inequities in cancer

Cancer can affect everybody, but not equally. Certain people, whether because of their gender, race, education or socio-economic status see worse outcomes from cancer. Access to cancer screening can differ, as well as the quality of patients’ lives after treatment. Our knowledge of biological aspects is also increasing. Professor Sulma Mohammed’s research looks at ways to understand and tackle these cancer health inequities, with a focus on sub-saharan Africa.

2) Cancer, ageing, and the importance of the tumour microenvironment

Professor Ashani Weeraratna has been studying the cancer microenvironment in her lab for the past 17 years. Taking into account that the tissues in our bodies change as we age is important when researching cancer biology. She hopes that gaining a better understanding of how the growth of cancer cells is affected by their direct cellular ‘neighbourhood’, especially when we age, could be key to developing better treatments for patients with cancer.