Cancer: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


With cancer survivor Lance Armstrong winning his seventh Tour de France, and walks, runs and other highly visible fund-raising opportunities — often overflowing with survivors and their families — taking place almost ubiquitously across the map, it certainly seems that doctors are finally winning, or at least making some significant strides — in the war against breast cancer rates have continued to increase, although at a slower rate than in the past. However, the increase may be due to increased detection because of higher rates of screening using prostate specific antigen brain barrier and get to the tumor,” he says.

In 2005, doctors will diagnose 18,500 malignant tumors of the skin checks], but it will take 10 years to see if we made a difference,” he says. But right now, “it’s an all-or-none phenomenon, [meaning that] if you have metastatic (spreading) melanoma in the lymph nodes, we are fighting a losing battle.” If not, it looks good. It’s a big watershed area where people will either be OK or not be OK.”

Summing It All Up

“President Richard Nixon declared war against cancer about 30 years ago, and we were woefully lacking in biology of cancer and how it worked, we thought it was one disease, and I think only in the last five years that we are starting to understand that the biology of tumors are quite different,” City of Hope’s Morgan says. “It turned out to be a lot more complicated than we thought, but we are heading to a much broader understanding of biology.

“I’d have to give us a C-plus/B-minus in treating advanced cancer because we still have to use a lot of toxic treatments to obtain good results and we still don’t have anything to cure cancer, but we are clearly improving,” he says. “For new agent development, we get a B-plus, and for understanding the biology of cancer, we also get a B-plus, “he says. “For screening, we get a B because we have good screening tools for colon, breast, and our effort is clearly an A, but we could use more funding for prevention.”

However, “we haven’t received an A in anything except in certain types of cancer,” he says.