After billions spent on research and decades of hit-or-miss treatments, it’s time to rethink the war on cancer.
Four decades into the war on cancer, conquest is not on the horizon.
“With cancer sometimes death is not optional.” Yet it was supposed to be. In 1971 President Richard Nixon declared war on cancer (though he never used that phrase) in his State of the Union speech, and signed the National Cancer Act to make the “conquest of cancer a national crusade.” It was a bold goal … But the scientists and physicians whom Nixon sent into battle have come up short. Rather than being cured, cancer is poised to surpass cardiovascular disease and become America’s leading killer.
The NCI Web site says, “the biology of the more than 100 types of cancers has proven far more complex than imagined at that time.”
Oncologists resort to a gallows-humor explanation: “One tumor,” says Otis Brawley of the ACS (American Cancer Society), “is smarter than 100 brilliant cancer scientists.”