Reducing the burden of cancerThis research group learns as much as possible about cancer with the aim of reducing the burden of this disease. The emphasis lies on the detection of urological tumours and their genetic causes.
Bart Kiemeney explains
Almost everyone knows someone who has cancer. Fortunately, we are learning more and more about this serious disease, thanks to research into its causes, onset and progression.
Q1 What is the aim of the Cancer Epidemiology group?
To learn as much as possible about cancer.
"For the Cancer Epidemiology group, to learn as much as possible about cancer is our everyday work. We aim to reduce the burden of this disease. Cancer Epidemiology is a specialized research group within the Department for Health Evidence. Approximately 20 highly committed researchers, from PhD candidates to professors, study all aspects of cancer, with the emphasis on research into the detection of urological tumors and their genetic causes. As a result, we can make an important contribution to the early detection, adequate treatment and cure of the disease.''
Q2 How does the group work?
"A great deal of cancer research is conducted in the Netherlands, usually in laboratories. The Cancer Epidemiology group goes a step further and conducts intensive research with large groups of people. For example, we conduct population research with 2000 bladder cancer and 1000 kidney cancer patients. These participants fill in questionnaires, provide blood samples for DNA research and undergo clinical testing. The result is a treasure trove of data for research into the distribution and possible prevention of cancer."
Q3 Can you tell us a bit about improving screening programs?
"The sooner cancer is detected, the greater the chance that it can be successfully treated. Did you know that 1000 deaths per year in the Netherlands are prevented by inviting women between 50 and 75 years old to participate in breast cancer screening? Cancer Epidemiology evaluates such large-scale screening programs and provides insight into their effects. This is required in order to improve the screening."
"Where my work is concerned, I am extremely ambitious. My research has to lead somewhere, for example, to improvements in healthcare or cancer prevention. At the Cancer Epidemiology group you are judged on your performance; if your research is not leading, your new project will not be funded."