A report recently published by the American Association for Cancer Research has highlighted the progress made in fighting cancer but emphasises that continued investment by the government in healthcare research and initiatives is needed. To view the source press release in full at the AACR’s website, click here. Alternatively, you can find the annual Cancer Progress Report (that the article is based on) by clicking here.
Progress Made in Fighting Cancer
According to the report, the FDA has approved twenty-two new treatments for cancer over the last year. These included several drugs that involve precision medicine.
In addition to these new drugs, the report highlights that the cancer death rate in the US has declined over the last two decades; between 1991 and 2015 there was a reduction of 26%, which is estimated to equate to 2.4 million people who were saved. Public health efforts have also tackled risk factors that underlie cancer; according to the report, cigarette smoking has reduced from 42% in 1965 to 14%.
Despite these significant improvements, cancer continues to have a huge impact on people in the US. The report predicts that numbers of new cancer cases in the US will have risen by seven hundred thousand by 2035; the report attributes this in large part to an increase in the number of people who will be 65 years or older. The report also highlights the importance of improving health disparities in cancer, and of HPV vaccinations for preventing cervical, oral, and anal cancers. Under half of US teenagers aged between 13 and 17 are up to date on these vaccinations.
The Importance of Research
Dr Jaffee, President of the AACR, emphasises the role of basic research for continuing to make progress in the fight against cancer. She says that raising levels of federal funding for cancer research will “allow us to make major headway moving forward.”
The report calls on the government to continue the funding, and in some cases increase the budgets of, several important bodies, including the NIH (National Institutes of Health), FDA (Food and Drug Administration), and CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) Cancer Prevention and Control Programs.