Although cancer is now the top killer of Canadians, people who are diagnosed are living longer than usual.
Curing cancer is often what most people hope for when asked about what medical breakthrough they would like to see, but are we winning the war on cancer?
The “war on cancer” began in 1971, when U.S. President Richard Nixon declared it in one of his annual state of the union speeches. But, measuring progress on the war really depends on who you ask and how they measure success.
Currently, there has been progress against some childhood cancers, but otherwise, there has been little change in mortality rates.
Clifton Leaf, who is the author of a Fortune magazine article entitled “Why We’re Losing the War on Cancer,” is actually one the people who benefited from the success against certain children cancers. Leaf, who had Hodgkin’s disease in the 1970s, focuses on actual death rates in his article. These rates actually haven’t changed much in decades in the following cancers: lung, pancreatic, and liver.
Leaf likes to point out that “there will not be one cancer magic bullet,” which is because there are over 200 forms of cancer.
One way to win the war against cancer would be prevention. If people would increase physical activity, avoid drinking alcohol excessively, tackle obesity, and quit smoking, cancer rates could half. But since this isn’t currently enforced 177,800 new cases of cancer is expected to be diagnosed yearly in Canada.