Thousands of cancer patients across the Middle East are set to benefit from the knowledge of a world-expert in bone health, in the wake of a regional tour to educate cancer specialists on the latest research on managing bone complications brought about by the disease.
More than 150 oncologists attended the lectures given by UK-based Professor Robert Coleman, Professor of Medical Oncology at the Cancer Research Centre in Weston Park Hospital, Sheffield, who visited Dubai, Kuwait, and Syria from 27-29 January – just days ahead of World Cancer Day on February 4.
The main messages of the lecture was the need to monitor, diagnose, and treat bone tumors, which occur when cancer migrates from its original site to the skeleton, and to prevent bone complications that can develop as a result of radio and chemotherapy.
“Bone health is a key component of overall cancer care due to the problem of bone metastases. It is a complication of cancer that can happen before, and after treatment, and leads to an increased risk of death,” explained Dr. Mohammed Jaloudi, Chief of Medical Oncology at Tawam Johns Hopkins Hospital in Al Ain, co-chair of the lecture tour.
“Bone metastases are most common in patients diagnosed with breast, lung, prostate, thyroid, and kidney cancer. And the best way to ensure that the risk of this complication is reduced, is to educate oncologists about the most up-to-date research on how best to manage bone health,” he added.
Among the research papers presented during the tour was a landmark study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine last year, which found that zoledronic acid – that prevents bone metastases in advanced-stage cancers – may also stop cancer recurrence at the original site in early-stage disease.
Findings from the study, of more than 1,800 pre-menopausal women with early breast cancer, show that giving zoledronic acid, in combination with traditional hormone therapy following surgery to remove breast tumors, reduces the risk of the cancer returning by 35 percent, compared with using hormone treatment alone.
“This study shows that there may be added benefits to taking medications to prevent bone metastases. In the case of these women, with early-stage breast cancer, zoledronic acid was found to prevent the recurrence of disease in the breast, as well as protect against bone metastases,” explained Dr. Farid Khalifa, Head of the Medical Oncology Department at Dubai Hospital, who also acted as a co-chair of the lecture tour.
“The possibility that breast cancer will return is a major concern among women who have undergone surgery to remove tumors, and so this study represents a significant step towards improving their survival,” he added.