The Future of Cancer Treatment
(Source: Cancer.org) Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. About one-half of all men and one-third of all women in the US will develop cancer during their lifetimes. Today, millions of people are living with cancer or have had cancer. Cancer begins when cells in a part of the body start to grow out of control. There are many kinds of cancer, and different types of cancer respond to different types of treatment. The growth in our knowledge of cancer biology has led to remarkable progress in cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment. Scientists have learned more about cancer in the last two decades than has been learned in all the centuries preceding.
The evolution of cancer treatment
Over the last two centuries, cancer treatment has evolved from the most primitive surgical treatments to highly advanced targeted therapies, which work by influencing the processes that control growth, division, and spread of cancer cells.
Cancer research is continuing to advance on many fronts, from immunotherapies to robot surgeries to gene therapies.
The war on cancer has produced significant results:
- During the 1970s, about 50 percent of people diagnosed with cancer survived at least five years. Now, more than two-thirds survive that long.
- Today there are more than 11 million cancer survivors in the United States alone.
- Now that more people are surviving cancer, more attention than ever is focused on the quality of life and long-term outcomes of cancer survivors.
- Now, many celebrities and national leaders very openly discuss and share their cancer experiences. The view that cancer cannot be cured and the fears that have historically been attached to the disease are slowly changing.
Key Point 1
Cancer is not a single disease. It has one name, but many illnesses—breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer and different variations of these. Understanding the differences and similarities in how these different cancers behave is essential to better treatment.
Key Point 2
While the war on cancer may not have been won, we have achieved significant victories. Healthier living along with the extraordinary work of health care professionals, clinical researchers and thousands of cancer patients and advocates are yielding significant improvements in cancer care.