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Hope and Cancer: How Far We’ve Come

Cancer research in the newsBy Kristin Sidorov
This year, 1.5 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer. Truly The Emperor of All Maladies, cancer has always been a part of our struggle against human illness. But in the past several decades, advances in research are getting us closer to controlling and overcoming the disease.

For that reason, hope and perseverance have always been at the forefront of cancer research. Now, new, breakthrough discoveries will likely change the way cancer treatments are approached forever.

The possibility of personalized therapies through new genetic technologies have shifted the focus of cancer treatment research, specifically finding new ways of using localized treatments for specific tumors. Investigators hope that it will lead the way into a new era of understanding cancer, but also warn that many complex questions remain. The new research isn’t fool-proof, and it’s important to remember these novel treatments don’t offer a cure. But new research gives way to new hope and promises even more progress; for now, that has to be enough.

The journey cancer research has taken is a long and bumpy one. Over the past 40 years, the average 5-year survival rate has increased by 18 percent, while the overall cancer death rate has dropped by 17 percent since its peak in 1991. New drug treatments based on personalized therapies have already been shown to reduce the risk of death from melanoma, breast cancer, and lung cancer.

Cancer research still has a long way to go, and we can’t know where the road ends, but if the trek so far is any indication, we can be confident that in 40 more years, we’ll be that much closer to eradicating the disease.

Get the facts: provides a comprehensive time-line of major milestones and advances in cancer research over the past 40 years.
Cancer Trends Progress Report from the National Cancer Institute
National Cancer Institute’s Annual Report to the Nation
American Cancer Society’s Cancer Basics


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