Where Has the Most Progress Been Made in Cancer Treatment?

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I think where we've actually made the most progress is our understanding of the ideology of some of these cancers especially lung cancer. The fact that we now know that tobacco usage causes 15 different cancers is incredibly important. We understand on molecular level a lot about cancer a lot about why it starts, how it grows and how it actually, the whole process to which cancer develops.

Where we've fallen short is our ability to actually stop cancer and cure it. Now they've been certain areas where we've made tremendous enroutes 30% decrease in death rate for breast cancer, 33% decrease in death rate for colorecto cancer, but we need to do better. We really need to change our definitions of cancer, we've learnt that what we call cancer is described by German pathologists in the 1840's using a light microscope, and they used autopsy patients in order to do it.

These are people who clearly died from those cancers. Nowadays with our new technologies when we find the one centimeter breast cancer, or a very small prostate cancer that's confined to the prostate. If it meets that definition we call it cancer, we're essentially doing cancer profiling. We're using the profile or description from the 1840s and applying it in 2012.

We're now starting to realize that some of those things that we call cancer are never going to grow, spread, metastasize and cause harm. We call them over diagnosis cancers. I don't like that name, but that's name that's been attached to them. What we need is a genomic 21st century definition of cancer.

A definition of cancer that looks at what genes are turned on, what genes are turned off, what genes are mutated. Ultimately we may actually get to a point where the fact that it started in the lung or started in the breast doesn't matter, we're going to want to know what genes are turned on, and turned off, because that's going to tell us one, what the behavior of the tumor is going to be like, and two what treatment we are to use if we are to treat it at all.