February 4, World Cancer Day

”I am and I will”

Scientifically, cancer is defined as the uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells, spreading beyond their usual boundaries and sometimes invading into adjoining parts and organs of the body – a process known as metastasis. Socially, cancer is a disease more often defined by fear and stigma. This is understandable given the frightening statistics on cancer incidence, the agonizing treatments, and the soaring mortality rate of this disease; however, social misconceptions about cancer are a barrier to effective cancer control.

The goals of World Cancer Day (WCD), celebrated annually on February 4, are to establish better access to cancer diagnosis and treatment for all patients, and to provide supportive and palliative care, and rehabilitation services to patients and cancer survivors. Untrained personnel are a fundamental obstacle in the less developed parts of the world – where approximately 70% of cancer deaths occur1– while diagnostic delays and poor access to treatment are global challenges. WCD aims to dissolve all social myths surrounding cancer – by promoting awareness about risk factors, preventive measures and early detections, showing support and raising our personal and collective voices. Thus, cancer incidence and mortality rates can be significantly reduced.

Globally, 1 in 5 men and 1 in 6 women develop cancer during their lifetime, with 1 in 8 men and 1 in 11 women dying from the disease2. According to recent World Health Organization data, there were 9.6 million deaths attributable to cancer in 20182. By 2030, cancer deaths per year are projected to rise to 13 million3. These numbers could be dramatically smaller, given how one third of all cancers are preventable, and numerous cancers could be cured if diagnosed early1,3.  Making a conscious effort to limit risk factors contributing to cancer and knowing the warning signs of cancer is vital for efficient prevention and favorable treatment.

Tobacco plays a pivotal role in cancer, as it’s responsible for 22% of all cancer deaths4. Amongst others, tobacco is linked with cancers of the lung, esophagus, larynx, pancreas, stomach and kidney. Second-hand smoke can also cause lung cancer. Physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and obesity raise the risk of esophagus, breast, colorectal, endometrium and kidney cancers, whereas a healthy, balanced diet can have protective effects. Moreover, high alcohol consumption is an important risk factor for cancers of the oral cavity, liver, esophagus, colorectal and breast. In 2010, there were over 300,000 alcohol-attributable cancer deaths5. Viruses, such as HPV, Hep B and Hep C are also responsible for a high number of cancers. Two-thirds of infection-attributable cancers – amounting to nearly 1.4 million people – occur in less-developed countries5. Vaccination against infectious agents can significantly reduce the risk of liver and cervical cancers, resulting in over 1 million less deaths6. Additionally, environmental pollution, occupational carcinogens and inappropriate radiation use can increase cancer risk. Reducing air pollution, and simple acts like applying sunscreen and avoiding excessive sun exposure can reduce chances of developing cancers of the lung and bladder, mesothelioma and leukemia. By avoiding or limiting these risk factors, cancer incidence can fall by 30-50%5.

Detecting cancer signs and symptoms promptly is important to avoid diagnostic delays. If a cancer is detected early – when it’s still small and hasn’t metastasized to other organs yet – chances of successful treatment are better. Some of the signs include unexpected weight loss, fatigue, pain and skin changes, with different cancers having more specific symptoms. Reliable screening programs, that can detect the disease early – ideally before the onset of symptoms – could play an integral part in early detection, improved treatment, and survival rates. Common screening tests are the PAP test for cervical cancer, mammogram for breast cancer, and colonoscopy for colorectal cancer. Unfortunately, most screening tests don’t have high sensitivity. Moreover, certain cancers like liver, stomach or pancreas currently do not have screening tests. Consequently, tissue biopsies – which are invasive, expensive and painful – are currently the main detection method of cancers.

Hence, an area of particular excitement in the cancer field is the liquid biopsy test – a blood test that can tell you whether there is a raised risk of cancer in the body along with the location of the cancerous site. Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) is released into the bloodstream from cancerous cells and tumors. This ctDNA varies from ‘normal’ DNA as it has acquired genetic mutations (alterations) due to the tumor. Importantly, ctDNA levels vary depending on tumor type, location and cancer stage. Therefore, it is possible to detect the presence of ctDNA in the bloodstream, check whether the cancer has metastasized and guide tumor-specific treatment according to the properties of each cancer. Another benefit of this advancement is that because it is a simple, painless blood test, it can be performed at various stages during treatment to evaluate the effectiveness of therapy depending on the ctDNA amount and monitor the patient’s remission.

Today, we know more about cancer than ever before. We know that by raising awareness and support, and by investing in research and innovation, extraordinary breakthroughs can occur. Breakthroughs that improve cancer prevention and diagnosis rates, increase the progress of care and treatment and empower all of us – cancer survivors, family and friends – to stand up to cancer.

References:

  1. World Health Organization (2018). ‘Key Facts’, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer
  2. World Health Organization Press Release (2018). ‘Latest global cancer data: Cancer burden rises to 18.1 million new cases and 9.6 million cancer deaths in 2008’. International Agency for Research on Cancer.
  3. World Health Organization (2019) ‘Key Statistics’, https://www.who.int/cancer/resources/keyfacts/en/
  4. GBD 2015 Risk Factors Collaborators. (2016) ‘Global, regional, and national comparative risk assessment of 79 behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or clusters of risks, 1990-2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study’. Lancet. Oct; 388 (10053):1659-1724.
  5. World Health Organization (2019). ‘Cancer Prevention’. https://www.who.int/cancer/prevention/en/
  6. Plummer M et al. (2016) ‘Global burden of cancers attributable to infections in 2012: a synthetic analysis’. The Lancet Global Health. Sep;4(9):e609-16. doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(16)30143-7


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NIPD Genetics - Privacy Policy

General Statement

NIPD Genetics is a leading, innovative biotechnology company that designs, develops, and provides a broad spectrum of healthcare services to its customers through its expansive portfolio of molecular and clinical laboratory tests in all disciplines.

At NIPD Genetics we are committed to protecting and respecting our customer’s privacy and personal information. Personal information or personal data means any information that identifies, relates to, describes, is capable of being associated with, or could be reasonably linked, directly or indirectly, with a particular individual, such as name, identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that individual.

NIPD Genetics collects and processes your personal information according to the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and the Cypriot law providing for the protection of natural persons with regards to the processing of personal data and for the free movement of such data (L. 125(I)/2018). The following principles lie at the heart of our approach to handling personal data:

NIPD Genetics has appointed a Data Protection Officer (DPO) who is responsible for overseeing and ensuring that personal information is collected and processed in line with these principles. The contact details of the Data Protection Officer (DPO) can be found below:

Email address: dpo@nipd.com

Postal address: 31 Neas Engomis street, 2409 Engomi, Nicosia, Cyprus

Telephone number: + 357 22266888

By accessing or using our products or services, or by transmitting information to us by email or other electronic means, you accept our policies, procedures and practices described in this Privacy Policy. If you do not agree with our policies, procedures and practices as described, you can choose not to access or use our products or services or not to transmit personal information to us.

This Privacy Policy applies to NIPD Genetics facilities, its websites www.nipd.com, www.nipdlabs.com, www.nipdlabs.com.cy and their subdomains, that link to this privacy pol icy.

PERSONAL INFORMATION COLLECTION AND PROCESSING

We collect and process several types of personal information from and about users of our websites and of our products and services, including:

Information about children

If you are under 18 years of age, do not register on our website or provide any information about yourself to us. We do not provide our products or services directly to children or proactively collect their personal information. Despite this prohibition, it is possible that we may sometimes be given information about children while handling samples from our customers in our clinical labs, or through use of our products and services by our customers and partners. If we become aware that we have inadvertently collected personal information from children under the age of 18, without parental consent, we will take the necessary steps to delete it as soon as possible in compliance with applicable laws.

LEGAL BASIS FOR PROCESSING OF YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION

Your personal information is collected by NIPD Genetics for the following purposes:

  1. To provide you with our products and services, respond to your inquiries or fulfill your requests and otherwise manage your relationship with us. The legal basis for processing is to meet the requirements of a contract, to comply with our legal obligations and/or because we have a legitimate interest in responding to requests for information about our products and services.
  2. To communicate with you about content and product offerings, newsletters and event invitations which are relevant to your interests and in line with your preferences. The legal basis for processing is the individual’s explicit consent prior to sending the information and managing individuals preferences.
  3. To process and respond to complaints. The legal basis for processing is to meet a legal obligation.
  4. To monitor and record information relating to the use of our products and services, including our website. The legal basis for processing is our legitimate interest in order to improve our products and services and our website for individuals.

To provide our products and services, NIPD Genetics may collect, receive and process biological samples to isolate and sequence DNA. NIPD Genetics may then store resulting genetic information and use genetic information to provide our products and services. In some cases, NIPD Genetics may provide interpretations of genetic information on behalf of its customers, including healthcare providers. This is only done pursuant to a written contract or a Sample Information Form with a patient’s informed consent and is subject to applicable legal and ethical safeguards.

This sensitive information described above is collected by NIPD Genetics for the following purposes:

  1. To provide support and maintenance services to customers who use our products and services – The legal basis for processing is to meet the requirements of a contract.
  2. To provide genotyping and sequencing services and analysis for our customers, including healthcare providers. The legal basis of this processing is to meet the requirements of a contract or as allowed in the Sample Information Form with a patient’s informed consent.
  3. To conduct genotyping and sequencing services and analysis for quality control, process and product development and improvements, and optimization in our labs to reflect quality improvements and advances in our technology. The legal basis for processing is the patient’s informed consent given through the Sample Information Form.

Transfer of Data

Your information, including personal data, may be transferred to - and maintained on - computers located outside your province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ than those from your jurisdiction.

If you are located outside Cyprus and choose to provide information to us, please note that we transfer the data, including personal data, to Cyprus and process it there.

Your consent to this Privacy Policy followed by your submission of such information represents your agreement to that transfer.

NIPD Genetics will take all reasonable steps necessary to ensure that your data is treated securely and in accordance with this Privacy Policy and no transfer of your personal information will take place to an organization or a country unless there are adequate controls in place including the security of your data and other personal information.

Disclosure of Data

NIPD Genetics complies with the General Data Protection Regulation and will not sell or trade your personal information.

NIPD Genetics may disclose your personal information in the good faith that such action is necessary:

COOKIES AND OTHER TRACKING TECHNOLOGIES

Cookies are files with small amount of data which may include an anonymous unique identifiers. Cookies are sent to your browser when you visit a website and stored on your device. Tracking technologies used on the website are beacons, tags and scripts, to collect and track information and to improve and analyze our websites.

We use cookies and similar tracking technologies to track the activity on our websites and collect certain information. This includes information about the computer or device you are using, such as Internet protocol (IP) address, information about the browser type or version, the pages of our website that you visit, the time and date of your visit, the time spent on those pages, unique device identifiers and other diagnostic data.

You can instruct your browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent. However, if you do not accept cookies, you may not be able to use some portions of our websites.

Examples of Cookies we may use:

Session Cookies. We use Session Cookies to operate our websites.

Preference Cookies. We use Preference Cookies to remember your preferences and various settings.

Security Cookies. We use Security Cookies for security purposes.

Visitor behavior cookies. To understand how visitors use and navigate the websites

Keyword cookies. To understand how visitors discover the websites.

ANALYTICS

We may use third-party Service Providers to monitor and analyze the use of our websites.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. Google uses the data collected to track and monitor the use of our service. This data is shared with other Google services. Google may use the collected data to contextualize and personalize the ads of its own advertising network.

You can opt-out of having made your activity on the Service available to Google Analytics by installing the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on. The add-on prevents the Google Analytics JavaScript (ga.js, analytics.js, and dc.js) from sharing information with Google Analytics about visits activity.

For more information on the privacy practices of Google, please visit the Google Privacy & Terms web page

SECURITY OF DATA

We are committed to protecting the security of the information we collect, and we take reasonable physical, technical, and administrative safeguards such as data anonymization and encryption to help protect personal information from unauthorized or inappropriate access or use. It is your responsibility to protect the confidentiality of your passwords, and any other access features associated with your access or use of the website or our products and services, as well as to adhere to any applicable Terms of Use or other contract between us and you or your organization.

PERSONAL DATA RETENTION

We may retain collected information even after you remove it from the website, our Services, or our Products, to comply with applicable law, to resolve disputes, to enforce any rights in connection with the website, our Services, or our Products, and to use as provided in this Privacy Policy, the Terms of Use, or an applicable contract between us and you or your organization. How long we retain specific personal information varies depending on the purpose for its use and we may delete or retain your personal information in accordance with applicable law.

SERVICE PROVIDERS

We may employ third party companies and individuals to facilitate, maintain or operate our websites (“Service Providers”), to provide the websites on our behalf, to perform service-related services or to assist us in analyzing how our websites are used.

These third parties have access to your Personal Data only to perform these tasks on our behalf and are obligated not to disclose or use it for any other purpose.

LINKS TO OTHER SITES

Our websites may contain links to other sites that are not operated by us. If you click on a third-party link, you will be directed to that third party's site. We strongly advise you to review the Privacy Policy of every site you visit.

We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of any third-party sites or services.

CHANGES TO THIS PRIVACY POLICY

This Privacy Policy may be updated from time to time. We will notify you of any changes by posting the new Privacy Policy on this page.

We will let you know via email and/or a prominent notice on our website, prior to the change becoming effective and update the “effective date” at the bottom of this Privacy Policy.

You are advised to review this Privacy Policy periodically for any changes. Changes to this Privacy Policy are effective when they are posted on this page.

YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS

NIPD Genetics ensures that it can respond immediately to requests that you make for the exercise of your legal rights in accordance with data protection laws. These rights are as follows:

You also have the right to lodge a complaint at any time to the Office of the Commissioner for Personal Data Protection.

We encourage you to contact us, should you wish to practice any of your legal rights or you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, by sending an email to NIPD Genetics’ Data Protection Officer at dpo@nipd.com.

Effective date: 18/06/2021

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