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PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 8:38 am 
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Progress Has Been Made in War on Cancer, but Still Many Challenges

ScienceDaily (Mar. 19, 2010) — Although there have been achievements in the battle against cancer, including a decrease in the rate of death and new diagnoses, cancer remains one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., with a need for continued improvement in the areas of prevention, detection and treatment, according to a commentary in the March 17 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on cancer.

Susan M. Gapstur, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the American Cancer Society, Atlanta, presented the commentary at a JAMA media briefing.

It has been nearly 40 years since the 1971 National Cancer Act was signed into law, which broadened the scope and responsibilities of the National Cancer Institute and vastly increased federal funding, with the intent of intensifying the campaign against cancer. Since then the so-called war on cancer has consumed more than 100 billion federal research dollars, and these funds have been more than matched by research investments from pharmaceutical companies, nongovernmental organizations and states, writes Dr. Gapstur and commentary co-author Michael J. Thun, M.D., M.S., of the American Cancer Society.

The investment in research has resulted in progress. A series of national consensus reports by cancer surveillance experts document a 15.8 percent decrease in the age-standardized death rate from all cancers combined between 1991 and 2006, and an almost 1 percent annual decrease in the rate of new diagnoses between 1999 and 2006. The authors add that one of the biggest successes to date in the primary prevention of cancer is the reduction in cigarette smoking in the U.S., achieved initially through education. Nearly 40 percent of the decrease in the overall cancer death rate in men between 1990 and 2006 resulted from the reduction in lung cancer mortality. There have also been improvements in the early detection and treatment of a number of cancers, and the prognosis is excellent for most cancers diagnosed while still localized.

Despite these accomplishments and improvements, cancer is still a too common disease in the U.S. According to estimates from the American Cancer Society, in 2009, there were almost 1.5 million cases of all forms combined, which contributed to more than 560,000 deaths, making cancer the second leading cause of death in the U.S. As life expectancy has increased, the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with cancer has increased as well. Nearly 1 in 2 men and more than 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer. There are several types (pancreas, liver, ovary, lung, brain) that are highly lethal and remain non-responsive to current therapies. "Even the most vocal proponents of prevention and early detection recognize the need to improve cancer therapies," the researchers note.

They add that progress in the fight against cancer is complicated by the "phenomenal biological complexity of cancer in its various forms. Not only are there more than 100 different anatomical and histological subtypes, but also many of these have multiple molecular variants with different prognosis, clinical features, and susceptibility to treatment. The inherent genetic instability of cancers allows them to change rapidly and generate clones that are resistant to treatment. Indeed, many cancers are masters of disguise, camouflaged from host defenses."

Even though these challenges may be daunting, the authors write that the tools to move forward are also more sophisticated and better defined. "It has become clear that no single silver bullet or therapeutic arsenal will win this war. Instead, it is essential to move forward on multiple fronts simultaneously, addressing the entire spectrum from primary prevention to early detection, treatment, and palliation. Each of these approaches provides opportunities to improve the application of existing knowledge and to conduct focused research that can identify and overcome critical barriers that thwart progress."

"The war on cancer has become considerably broader and more complex over time. Cancer is a [many-formed], complex, and highly adaptable disease. Although progress has been made in reducing cancer mortality rates, the number of persons affected by cancer will increase due to an aging population unless progress in cancer prevention and reducing incidence rates are accelerated. Nevertheless, advances and insights accumulated during the last 40 years provide a strong foundation on which to continue the fight against cancer," the authors conclude.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 101556.htm


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:39 am 
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Does any of this apply to brain cancer?

I hear you - 'but brain cancer has the highest mortality rate and that's barely changed in the last few decades?'. Here is my response to that question and why I believe that while brain cancer has some differences, it is still cancer.

The first thing we need to realise is that 85% of cancer is preventable and that there are things we can do to prevent its recurrence. Around 50% of the population is obese and 70% vitamin D deficient - classic preconditions for cancer of any type. That means that there are many more lifestyle and environmental factors that are in our control.

In my case I thought being very fit I was also very healthy. While the two are related they are not the same thing. I am sure I was vitamin D deficient, being sun 'smart', and my nutrition was not ideal. I had swallowed the fat is bad message; not knowing the difference between good and bad fats. The moral was I was going to have to change and being male and fit this message took a while to sink in.

Here is a news flash for most people, including myself 2 years ago, cancer prevention applies to recurrence. I don't have the stats and figure its not always going to be as successful as preventing it first time; cancer also has a path of least resistence. Not being intelligent it has no way of knowing that the more it succeeds the more likely the demise of its host. There is no symbiotic relationship here. But I do know that cancer prevention measures increase our quality of life and normally an increase in quantity follows - think of karnosky scores.

Here's more news - brain cancer treatments are more likely to come from the treatment of other cancers. Its simple math, brain is one of the least common primary cancers so there is far more money being spent elsewhere. So if you are holding your breath waiting for the exciting news, you'll need more patience. I follow the research and I am excited by the promise of new treatments. I also realise that those treatments hold promise for the future and there are things that I need to change now to improve my chances.

Now if you are you my situation, you have had the acute medical intervention and are now on your own there are things that you can do to improve your chances. Now I was very scared initially when I appeared to be in this no man's land. I went to see more specialists for second opinions on acture treatment options. The risks and side effects were even scarier and I began to doubt whether what I was being told was correct. More treatment had greater risks, but there was a possibility of no greater prognosis and far less quality of life. I appreciated their honesty, but concluded that I was better waiting. I have seen evidence that due mainly to the inflammation they cause, further treatments are unlikely to improve prognosis.

You or your loved one can be a cancer survivor, I nor anyone else can say how long for; life has no guarantees. What I can be sure of is that if you need to lose body fat (although after treatment you may be too thin), are low in vitamin D, eat white carbohydrates, don't exercise and a few other factors these can all improve your chances. If you include natural 'treatments' like tumeric, green tea and anticancer/ antioxidant/ anti-inflammatory supplements you will improve your chances over changing nothing.

I have cancer despite being fit and 'heathly'. I have never had much of a sweet tooth, never smoked, I don't drink, always had good BMI etc. Yet I like to think I value the truth and I could not honestly say to myself there is nothing despite the above list that I could change. This was good news - there have been things that have been working and I am feeling great. Being a cancer survivor also has given the simple things in life more value.


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