War on Cancer

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The fight towards winning the war on cancer is a national priority. Cancer is now the number two killer in the United States, and takes nearly 550,000 lives each year. In the article, "Losing the War on Cancer," from the Cancer Prevention Coalition, by Ralph W. Moss, the efforts made since 1971 when President Nixon launched America's war on cancer is discussed at length. Nixon allocated billons of dollars towards funding resources to find a cure for cancer. Since then, it is estimated that approximately two trillion dollars are spent on conventional cancer treatments and research. Despite the huge amount of funds that have been directed towards cancer research, there has been little progress made since the efforts. In each of the 31 years since the "war on cancer" was launched, more and more Americans are suffering from cancer each year. Despite all of this time and effort put into for research and spending, the medical community's war on cancer has been a failure thus far. We are no closer today to understanding the underlying causes for the rapid rise of cancer rates, or to finding safe and effective treatments for patients. The incline in cancer rates has paid a great toll on America, and for years the public has been waiting for any new advances for cancer prevention. With new hypotheses of the causes of cancer everyday, society itself has to take precautions, and try to avoid dangerous environmental hazards, and live a healthier lifestyle. In another article, "Report Finds U.S. Cancer Death Rates Declining" in CNN.com, it discusses how The National Cancer Institute recently claimed; "that there has been a decline in cancer deaths in recent years. According to the National Cancer Institute, the most important risk factor for cancer is age. Because the U.S. population is growing as well as aging, the authors of the study focused on how, even if rates of cancer remain constant, the number of people diagnosed with the disease will increase." (www.cnn.health.com). The NCI also states, on a hopeful note, that the cancer death rate has dropped in the U.S. about 1 percent a year. And that most of the declines in death rates are among lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancer, which account for more than half of all U.S. cancer deaths. Opposing these possible optimistic reports with cancer, the disease has been increasing over the years. Thus while fewer people are dying, more people are having their lives profoundly disrupted by cancer. In the article, "Impact of Reporting Delay and Reporting Error on Cancer Incidence Rates and Trends" found in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, it states that cancer rates were not accurately reported in the past, which has under estimated the amount of deaths each year. For instance, they found that reporting delays for cancer can last years. They calculate that it "would take 4 to 17 years for 99% or more of the cancer causes to be reported," and that the numbers in hand at the end of the current reporting period, 2 years, amount to somewhere between 88% and 97% of final cases counted" (Clegg et at. www.ourstolenfuture.org ). These documented delays place question marks in the past statistics of the progress in cancer decline. The delays have created an inappropriate comparison between the present day reports and the ones given in the past years. With the delay, reports discovered new change in the new trends in cancer. For example, "Prior to the adjustment, the trend analysis of female breast cancer for the years 1987 to 1998 was flat: the trend was not statistically distinguishable from any annual change. The adjustment, however, "revealed a statistically significant 0.6% annual increase in breast cancer risk during recent years. Since 1999 there has been an estimated 43,700 people who die from breast cancer" (Clegg et at www.ourstolenfuture.org pg3). Also men are suffering tremendously with prostate cancer. "Prostate cancer is one of the major causes...
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