The Culprit is Cancer
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By Judith C. Gasson, Ph.D.
was a death sentence less than 27 years ago when Richard Nixon declared
War on Cancer.
the statistics remain staggering. Half the men and one-third of
the women in this country will develop cancer. By the year 2000,
cancer is expected to be the nation's leading cause of death.
some 550,000 people in the U.S. die of cancer. That's about 50,000
more deaths in a single year than were suffered by our armed forces
in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War
we losing the war on Cancer?
we are not. Currently, more than half of all Americans with cancer
are being cured. Early detection now makes many breast, prostate
and colon cancers curable by surgery. Three- quarters of all children
with leukemia are cured, thanks to advances in chemotherapy and
radiation. The same goes for testicular cancer in adults. And with
proper screening, colon cancer could be a preventable disease.
the beginning of the War on Cancer, we did not know our enemy. When
it came to technology, we simply didn't have the powerful weapons
that are available to us today. Now, we are winning the war in research
laboratories. Remarkable advances in molecular biology, genetics
and epidemiology have revealed many of the causes of cancer.
is a genetic disease, caused by mutations in our genes that occur
over a lifetime of exposure to things like tobacco, chemicals and
sunlight that are elements of our environment. When mutation occurs
in genes that normally control the processes of growth and mutation
of cells, those genes don't function properly. Over time more mutations
accumulate, and tumors form. Then, by definition, we have cancer.
the past year alone, progress in fighting cancer has been phenomenal.
In a nationwide trial, a nearly 50-persent reduction in the incidence
of breast cancer in women at high risk for the disease was achieved
through use of the antiestrogen tamoxifen.