The most impacting diagnosis is, most probably, cancer. In a survey conducted in the United States, 40% of the respondents mentioned cancer as the condition they are most afraid of getting, while the second-ranked, dementia, was feared by only 17.5%. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, cancer is the first cause of mortality for women aged 45 to 84 and the second cause outside this age range. The risk for a woman of being diagnosed with breast cancer at one point in her life is estimated to be 13%, meaning that approximately 1 in 8 women will be in this situation. There has been a long and heated debate about the benefit of mammograms screening for breast cancer.
A promising prevention modality currently under study is vaccination. There are over 200 clinical trials in different phases, testing vaccines for breast cancer. Cancer cells develop into malignant tumors due to multiple mechanisms that allow them to escape our immune system. Various strategies target tumor neoantigens and various intracellular processes that lead to cancer. Peptides, proteins, carbohydrate antigens, DNA sequences, dendritic cells, modified tumor cells, or parts of them are incorporated in vaccines, mixed with adjuvants, which enhance the immunogenic response.
Personalized therapies require proper biomarkers for identifying the best therapeutic option for a certain patient: both in terms of indication, planning and delivery of the treatment and also for the follow-up. Currently, the biomarker field is evolving rapidly and a wide variety of tests are becoming available that will hopefully improve the therapeutic results.