Where Are We on the War on Cancer?

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On the treatment side where I think we've made some great advances, and we are poised for the next set of advances as we get to the point where we can do personalized medicine much better than we've ever done before. So, I think we're poised at the treatment side to make some major advances in that over the next decade, and so things that.

So what we commonly do now radiation, chemo, surgery and I think people a decade or two from now will look back and go, really? Is that what we were doing? So, I think we're going to be able to pinpoint much better than we do right now. On the prevention side if you ask me how are we doing? We're probably doing worse, in some ways.

On behavioral side not doing so well. Now, we've made some major advances in smoking cessation over the course of the last 40, 50 years. We were at one point up at 40% or more smokers, and we're down now 20%, maybe a little lower, then we plateaued in the smoking area, we're still hanging around 20%.

One of the things that we think is that we've sort of skimmed off the easy ones. So, in the smoking area the people who were more easily able to quit we've managed to help them quit, and we are now sort of left with the more, I hate to use this term but it's the one that's used in the literature.

A more recalcitrant smoker, one that's sort of more addicted, harder to change, and so we've had more difficulty there. In the diet and physical activity area, we've actually in some ways gone backwards and that's in a large part I think because the environmental structure reinforcements around us actually make it more difficult, not easier.

So, cultural differences changes over time. If you look at people who immigrate to this country in this sort of toxicity of the American culture, there are plenty of people who immigrate from this country at normal weight, and within five or 10 years of being here are now overweight, and obese, and their are kids become over weight and obese.

The very structure of how our system works and the availability of food and the inability to have regular sort of physical activity on a consistent basis those sorts of things have actually gotten worse instead of better in the course of time.