Cancer—How Are We Doing?
This series of articles on cancer is presented to help you the reader to have a realistic view of the advances achieved in treating this disease. In recent decades, progress has been made in the understanding of some of the causes of cancer. Now good advice about prevention is available. It is also easier today to get an early diagnosis, and there is a greater likelihood of cure. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sums it up this way:
“Good News: Everyone does not get cancer. 2 out of 3 Americans never will get it. Better News: Every year more and more people with cancer are cured. Best News: Every day you can do something to help protect yourself from cancer.”
WE DO not intend to consider this subject through rose-colored glasses. After all, one medical source indicates that in the United States alone “58 million Americans now living will eventually have cancer.” Many other countries have a similar proportion. Therefore, false optimism is unwarranted. Yet, optimism based on facts will help all to face the reality with hope and will also encourage cancer patients to put up a more effective fight.
Can Cancer Be Cured?
How do experts answer this question? Note the following:
“Cancer can be treated successfully. In many instances it can be completely cured. Countless people who have been treated for cancer have lived long, healthy lives, with no sign or symptom of the disease. . . . Cancer is definitely curable.”—The Complete Medical Guide, by Dr. Benjamin F. Miller.
“Fear of this disease has obscured the fact that almost half of the people with cancer can be cured, and proper treatment of those who cannot be cured can add years of comfortable and productive life.”—The Facts About Cancer, by Dr. Charles F. McKhann, Professor of Surgery, Yale University.
“Some cancers are easily curable; whereas others are almost always completely incurable by the time they are diagnosed. . . . Cancers of three organs (lung, breast, and large intestine) are at present of outstanding importance as they currently account for half the U.S. cancer deaths.”—The Causes of Cancer, Sir Richard Doll and Richard Peto, the University of Oxford, England.
But there is still a sobering note to add to this picture. In his book Target: Cancer, science writer Edward J. Sylvester states: “The killer certainly has not been caught. The most deadly cancers in the United States—lung cancer, postmenopausal breast cancer, and colorectal cancers—are no more curable now than thirty to forty years ago, . . . although people with these cancers in some cases are surviving longer.”
Vast sums of money are spent each year on cancer research, but it is one of the most elusive killer diseases that man has known. However, there is a positive note on the three cancers mentioned—some people “are surviving longer.”
When it comes to cancer, are all of us victims of chance? Or is there something we can do to prevent it? Do food and life-style have any bearing on the incidence of cancer?
In the following articles, we will consider some of the known causes of cancer and methods of prevention and cure, as well as an example of success in overcoming cancer. The final article will explain how we know that cancer will soon be conquered.