Research and Progress
How far have we really come in the now decades old War on Cancer? Do you remember President Nixon signing the bill in 1971 (Note: in addition to the famous one in Vietnam, Nixon presided over a lot of other "wars". There was a War on Poverty, a War on Drugs, etc. Guess he liked the metaphor.) In the years since then, there certainly has been progress, and there have been periodic blaring headlines that promised much more than was subsequently delivered. As I often remember, in 1979, when I first began to work in Oncology, there was exactly one drug used in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. Now there are many. But, only we really have cure, or, even better, prevention, we have barely begun to fight.
Here is an editorial from Journal of Clinical Oncology that you likely will find intriguing. Per usual, here is the introduction and then a link:
The War on Cancer: Progress at What Price?
Andre Konski, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI
The signing of the National Cancer Act in 1971 is heralded by many as the start of the War on Cancer. Age-specific cancer rates have been steadily declining since the early 1950s in the United States.1 The decline can be attributed to better education about healthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking cessation and the importance of screening for and early detection of malignancies such as breast and cervical cancer, and improved treatments, especially for childhood malignan- cies. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and minimally invasive radical prostatectomy (MIRP) are two of the newer weapons in the War on Cancer.
Each success, however, comes with a cost. The nation is experi- encing one of the worst recessions in memory, and federal and state governments are grappling with increasing budget deficits. Health care products and services are becoming an increasing percentage of the gross domestic product of the United States. Although health care spending growth decelerated in 2009 in the United States, it still increased 4.0% in 2009, reaching $2.5 trillion and making health care products/services 17.6% of the gross domestic product compared with 16.6% in 2008.2 This increase affects the competitiveness of business in the United States, given that more money is funneled into providing health care for employees rather than into improving efficiency in production and research and development.