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Imaging’s Role in Cancer Research

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 2:08pm
Gregory Sorensen, MD, President and CEO, Siemens Healthcare North America

Anyone who hears the words, “You have cancer,” wants to hear next that they will survive.  Thankfully today, more patients are indeed beating the disease.  Medical imaging is an integral part of many survivors’ personal victories over the disease dubbed the “emperor of all maladies.”  From diagnosing disease at its earliest and most curable stage to ensuring cancer therapies are working, medical imaging has given researchers and physicians unprecedented insight into how disease affects the human body.  In fact, researchers can now say that solely due to diagnostic imaging, we’ve seen a 4 percent decline in cancer mortality.

But much more needs to be done to unlock the secrets of beating back cancer – both in promoting the value of early detection as well as in finding cures.

That’s why Siemens is proud to support Stand Up To Cancer by launching The Baton Pass.  Every time this Baton passes from one person to another or via the Facebook app, Siemens will donate a dollar, up to $1 million, for Stand Up’s groundbreaking research.

We partnered with the organization because Stand Up To Cancer’s initiatives are working.  Today more than 700 scientists collaborate on Stand Up’s research Dream Teams, and as a radiologist and cancer researcher who has myself previously applied for Stand Up grants, I know first-hand the power achieved by bringing the best minds together to collaborate on translating research into clinical practice.

I also know the power medical imaging brings to the research community.  Imaging has become a critical tool for scientists to understand cancer and how it progresses at a molecular level so research can develop more effective treatments. 

Our involvement goes beyond raising money for cancer research.  With The Baton Pass, we pass hope – from one person to another – and boost awareness about the progress made in early diagnosis and cancer treatment.  The more people know about early detection the more medical imaging can help patients become survivors.  The data tell this story of hope.  Consider that colorectal cancer is preventable with proper screening, and 98 percent of breast cancer patients survive if detection occurs early. Let’s also not shy away from talking about how much more we can do if people have access to early diagnostic tools.  In fact, recent studies show a 20 percent reduction in lung cancer deaths – upwards of 20,000 lives saved per year – as a result of early diagnosis.

Ever since a doctor in ancient Greece named Hippocrates first described several types of cancer nearly 2,500 years ago, researchers, doctors, patients and caregivers have all “passed the baton” through the generations by contributing to what we know about cancer today.

Now it’s our turn to build upon the progress made in the fight against cancer and through The Baton Pass, signal our reasons for hope, courage, and the power that comes from reaching out to one another.

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