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Cure for Cancer: Is It Possible?

By Kathleen Walter and Nick Tate   |   Thursday, 26 Sep 2013 09:46 AM

Major advances in the war on cancer over the past two decades have reduced the U.S. death rate dramatically and meant that being diagnosed with the disease is no longer a death sentence for millions of Americans. But are we any closer to curing cancer?
John Seffrin, CEO of the American Cancer Society, tells Newsmax Health significant strides in treating and preventing cancer have been made since the organization was founded a century ago. But it will take more much research and many more advances in diagnosis and treatment before a cure is within reach.
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"Without any question I think our biggest step forward is changing cancer into a survivable disease," says Seffrin, who heads the world's largest voluntary organization devoted to fighting cancer. "When our organization got started, any significant diagnosis of cancer was a virtual death sentence ... Now 2 out of 3 people in America survive the disease long term, and we have the evidence and information to what it will take to make it 3 out of 3.
Editor's Note:Knowing these 5 cancer-causing signs is crucial to remaining cancer-free for life

"So the bottom line is that we can now begin to talk about finishing the fight to actually bring cancer under control as a major public health problem first in the United States and then hopefully around the world."

Seffrin's family experiences mirror the progress made against cancer over the past 50 years. Cancer took his grandmother when he was 10 years old, then his mother. His wife, Carole, is a breast cancer survivor.
"The cancers in my grandmother were terrible because turned our living room into a hospital hospice room really and she suffered terribly," he notes. "My mother also died but she didn't suffer. And my wife had breast cancer, but she'll never die of that breast cancer because it's been successfully treated."
Today, Seffrin says, 400 fewer Americans die of cancer each day than in 1991. But he believes that figure could more than double in the years to come, with scientific researchers building on those gains by developing new "curative targeted therapies" the ACS and the federal government are funding.
One example: Gleevec — one of a new class of drugs developed with ACS funding to treat of chronic myeloid leukemia — works by targeting abnormal proteins that are critical to cancer's growth.
But Seffrin stresses that scientific research is only one line of attack in the war on cancer. Healthcare access and prevention strategies are also key to fighting cancer.
"If we're to solve the cancer problem … we also have to prevent the preventable," he notes. "And then the final thing of course is that we have to provide quality healthcare to everyone who needs it… Most of the people who die today — 1,500 people today will die of cancer in America — and most of them are needless [deaths] because they didn't have access to quality healthcare."
Editor's Note:Knowing these 5 cancer-causing signs is crucial to remaining cancer-free for life

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