For the cancer patient, the effort has paid off in new facilities, new medical equipment and sophisticated treatment. To a great degree, the hurdles described by Dr. del Regato - geography, organization, skill and the rest - are down. Worldwide, 680 research and treatment institutions in 82 countries serve the potential or actual cancer victim. In the United States, more than 90 per cent of the population lives within 200 miles of one of the institutions described by the National Cancer Institute as cancer centers, which offer the most up-to-date cancer treatment and also carry on research into new methods of treatment. And in any hospital specializing in cancer care, a patient can expect certain standardized, effective models of diagnosis and treatment.

The rigor and thoroughness of these models can be seen in the sequence of steps, called a protocol, in the treatment of cancer of the colon or lower intestine. To begin with, a doctor takes a look at the interior of the colon, using an instrument called a sigmoidoscope or colonoscope. If he finds a tumorous growth, he calls upon specialists to perform a biopsy - to remove a piece of it for laboratory analysis to determine whether it is benign or malignant. Usually, he will want the growth cut out in either case.

If the growth is a polyp, or small tumor and is located near the rectum, the doctor himself may remove it. To treat a growth further up the colon, he will call in a surgeon, who also proceeds according to the steps of a protocol. The surgeon generally removes a benign tumor by simply cutting it away at its base; when operating on a malignant tumor, he removes a portion of the colon above and below the growth as well. If the portion is relatively small, the severed ends of the colon are sewed together; if it is large, an opening is made in the wall of the abdomen to let the patient pass bowel movements into a plastic pouch. Finally, to complete the protocol, surgery is generally followed by chemotherapy or by a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Such treatments are the work of skilled scientists and craftsmen - the professional soldiers in the war against cancer. The ranks of such professionals range from the field marshals who direct the national and international campaigns, down to the foot soldiers who run tests in laboratories. By comparison, the potential cancer victim is a civilian, who may seem helpless while the battle rages. But this civilian can prevent the battle by simply avoiding the disease. A handful of common cancer-causing agents is responsible for most of the cancer in the world. Armed with knowledge and prudence, the civilians in the cancer war have it in their power to deny cancer most of its chances to attack.

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The cancer fighter generally deploys more than one kind of weapon; a combination suited to specific cancers and patients is more effective.  Surgery or radiation of an original tumor may be backed up by chemotherapy to eliminate metastases, and as many as 10 drugs maybe used in combination or succession to kill every last malignant cell. Or any of the three therapies may begin a course of treatment to reduce the size of a large tumor, with the others coming in as needed.

Each of the three brings its own risks and costs. Surgery is never completely safe, and cancer surgery can be disfiguring. Radiation and chemotherapy can be hazardous even when closely monitored and both have side effects ranging from mild discomfort to outright illness. But for many patients the very harshness of cancer treatments comes as a challenge to fight the disease through. Ruth Cullen - a victim of Hodgkin's disease - noticed that her first dose of anticancer drugs came in a syringe labeled 'poison'. "It was a turning point", she recalled. "It marked a real loss of innocence. Up until then, i hadn't admitted that there was anything wrong inside. Putting that stuff in there made it very real to  me that there was something inside my body that was trying to kill me". Two years later, after a grueling course of radiation and chemotherapy, not a trace of her disease could be found - and she felt , she said, "like one of a charmed circle".

To enter that circle, a cancer patient must get the right treatment, in the right amount, at the right time. Not all do. Dr.Juan del Regato of the University of South Florida, in a comprehensive textbook on cancer treatment, wryly described various hurdles  on the path to the best possible treatment. They include, he wrote, "wishful thinking (to which physicians are not immune), geography, luck, misinformation (lay and professional), organization, luck, facilities, skills and a great deal of luck".

The hurdles are real enough, yet almost every cancer victim can leap over all of them - including the hurdle of luck. A worldwide network of laboratories and hospitals, of research scientists and physicians have been established to pursue the search for cancer cures, exchange information on new findings and therapies and make the best professional services available to every patient who needs them.

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In modern cancer research the confirmation of a finding is rarely so belated, and practical preventive action can be swift. For vinyl chloride, a chemical used in aerosol sprays and in the manufacture of plastics, epidemiological and laboratory evidence accumulated quickly and simultaneously. In May 1970, Dr.P.L.Viola, a cancer researcher in Rome, reported that he had developed cancer in animals by using very high doses of the substance but concluded that the levels encountered in industry presented no danger to workers. Nevertheless, less than two years later American and European chemical manufacturers started both animal tests and epidemiological studies of vinyl chloride.

The first breakthrough came in Italy. In January 1973, Dr.Cesare Maltoni of Bologna found liver cancers in animals exposed to low levels of the chemical; his experiments were repeated and confirmed by Dr.Viola. Then in late 1973 and early 1974, three cases of a rare liver cancer turned up at a vinyl chloride plant in Louisville,Kentucky. An epidemiological search of the death records of workers at other plants showed that the same cancer, often misdiagnosed had struck again and again. Only a few weeks later, Dr.Maltoni brought in the final damning evidence; he had induced the cancer in his experimental animals, using dosage levels no higher than those faced by the workers in the plants.

As one historian of the episode commented, 'people hardly needed any more convincing then'. In 1973 and 1974, beginning even before the last pieces of the puzzle had been fitted into place, the use of vinyl chloride in aerosols, which could harm the general public was banned and plastics manufacturers reformed their procedures to bring the chemical down to safe levels within their plants.

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A 20-square-mile corner of the Lin Xian valley in eastern China was a tragic pocket of cancer for at least 2,000 years. One in every four persons died of cancer of the esophagus, the tube leading to the stomach - a rate 250 times greater than the Chinese average. But in one of the few instances in which a cancer cause has been unmistakably identified, Chinese scientists traced the disease to its origin and began to control the ancient terror of Lin Xian.

The program started in 1958 with attempts to isolate the cause. Local residents blamed the cancer on a habit of eating steaming hot food. Food, it turned out, was involved, but not its temperature. The soil of Lin Xian is low in the element molybdenum. Without it, crops accumulate nitrite compounds; normally an enzyme containing molybdenum limits nitrites in living organisms. The plants also produce less vitamin C, which helps eliminate nitrites. Hence the people of Lin Xian were building up high nitrite concentrations. At the same time, the foods they dried or pickled grew mold, considered a delicacy. The molds contain substances known as amines, which combine with nitrites to form nitrosamines. And nitrosamines cause esophageal cancer.

In early stages the cancer can be cured by surgery. In China train technicians were assigned to screen residents of Lin Xian for treatment. And an educational campaign promoted preventive steps. It will be years before results can be gauged in lives saved, but villagers quickly began to treat fields with molybdenum and improve preserving techniques - measures to block the nitrosamines that had cursed Lin Xian with cancer.

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Because epidemiological research into the causes of cancer takes so long and may leave crucial questions unanswered, the more direct method of laboratory experimentation is undertaken when possible - as it generally is before the introduction of a newly synthesized chemical into foods or drugs. The two types of techniques often go hand in hand. Some compounds such as soot and certain dyes are known from the findings of epidemiologists to be dangerous. Laboratory tests can identify the components of such compounds that are to blame - benzopyrene in soot, beta-naphthylamine in dyes - and such tests can also provide indisputable proof that a suspected substance or activity does cause cancer.

When materials suspected as carcinogen are being tested, scientists cannot risk a human life; laboratory experiments must be done only on animals. During the 1960s, as epidemiological evidence on the risks of smoking began to pour in, generations of mice at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London panted out their lives in smoke-filled enclosures and showed evidence of lung cancer. At a Veterans Administration laboratory in New Jersey in 1970, cigarette smoke was pumped directly into dog's lungs, through openings cut in their throats and generated cancerous growths. And in a bizarre experiment of the early 1980s, baboons at the Southwest Research Foundation in San Antonio, Texas, were taught to smoke cigarettes themselves in the continuing quest for hard experimental evidence.

All such trials somewhat resemble a prospective study, in which a scientist selects a group of subjects and follows their course of health or illness. But there is one critical difference. In the laboratory - but not in everyday life - the scientist can be sure that his subjects differ only in the amounts of carcinogen they are exposed to. What they eat, how they exercise or sleep, the very air they breathe - all can be rigidly controlled. Hereditary differences between animals can be reduced or eliminated; among laboratory mice for example. Scientific breeding has produced strains in which all the individuals are genetically identical. Thus, if a scientist exposes one group of mice to a suspected carcinogen, leaving a second group unexposed, and the first group develops cancer while the second does not, he has proved that the substance causes cancer -  at least in mice. To move beyond this test, he might repeat it with other animal subjects - rabbits perhaps, or dogs or monkeys maybe. If a substance induces cancer in several different kinds of mammals, it probably is a carcinogen for most mammals, including human beings.

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In the course of studying epidemiology, the epidemiologists have developed two main branches of their science, one essentially retrospective and the other prospective. Retrospective epidemiologists follow Pott's method, but at a much higher level of thoroughness and sophistication. Having identified a group especially high in a specific cancer or in cancers generally, they probe the lives both of the victims and of those who have escaped the disease. They analyze medical records and personal histories, and the personnel and health records kept by employers. Survivors are questioned on every conceivable detail of their working and living habits, and the investigators search through death certificates to identify earlier cases

In one typical retrospective project - conducted in 1981 - a team of researchers led by Dr.Brian MacMahon of the Harvard School Of Public Health studied 369 victims of pancreatic cancer and 644 subjects who were free of that cancer. The epidemiologists asked all the subjects about their use of tobacco, alcohol, tea and coffee, in an attempt to  discover whether any of these factors increase the risk of developing the disease. One important connection emerged: pancreas cancer patients were more likely to be coffee drinkers than were the controls. Neither alcohol nor tea increased the risk; cigarette smoking increased it only slightly. What was more, the more coffee a person drank, the greater the risk. Those who drank one or two cups a day were twice twice as likely to develop pancreas cancer as those who drank no coffee at all. Those who drank five or more cups tripled their risk. Obviously, the effects of such a study can be vital to cancer prevention. In the United States, more than half of the population over the age of 10 drinks coffee every day, and Dr.MacMahon estimated that more than half of all pancreas cancer could be linked to coffee drinking. 

Unlike Dr.Macmahon - who worked backward from existing records - prospective epidemiologists follow large numbers of people into the future. These people are not necessarily ill when the project starts. The epidemiologists simply records their medical histories and their life styles in great detail, then waits to see what happens to them. The waiting is expensive; hundreds or even thousands of technicians may keep close track of the subjects for decades. But the findings - based upon identical - exhaustively detailed observation of many people over a long period, are especially valuable.

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To explain why some people get a particular cancer and others do not, or why cancer is more prevalent in one society than in another, medical investigators known as epidemiologists painstakingly compare the dissimilar groups. The techniques of epidemiology, based on comparative medical examinations, health records and interviews, have dominated much of 20th century cancer research - but the seeds of these techniques were planted nearly three centuries ago. In 1700, the Italian doctor Bernardino Ramazzini noted that nuns - who lead lives very different from those of the general population - have a high susceptibility to breast cancer. He concluded - correctly - that it was in some way related to their celibacy. Among the first to use the techniques was an 18th century english surgeon, Percival Pott. A prominent figure in the london of his day, Pott treated such patients as the actor David Garrick and the man of letters Samuel Johnson. He was also a medical scholar, with interest ranging from hernias to broken legs. In 1775 he turned his attention to a curious phenomenon among london chimney sweeps. At an early age and to a degree far beyond that of their contemporaries, they were susceptible to cancer of the scrotum.

In "A Short Treatise of the Chimney Sweeper's Cancer", Pott described the work of these boys and young men. "Thrust up narrow and sometimes hot chimnies, where they are bruished, burned and almost suffocated; and when they get to puberty, become peculiarly liable to a noisome, painful and fatal disease. To get through those narrow chimneys, they often worked naked. They rarely bathed - the practice was considered unhealthful - and soot lay thick upon their skins, especially in the groin area". That soot - Pott pointed out - represented a substance peculiar to the chimney sweep's trade. In a bold leap of speculation, he declared that the soot was the cause of their cancer.

Pott could never prove his case, but his primitive methods became the foundation of modern cancer epidemiology. This medical specialty now offers the best opportunities for learning what causes cancer in human beings. Like Pott,epidemiologist have linked specific occupations and chemicals to particular cancers; similar studies have implicated diet, sexual habits and heredity as well.

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Cancer plays favourites, certain forms strike more virulently in certain places. Although most of these geographical concentrations remain to be explained, they often provide clues to a custom or climate that causes the peculiarly local disease. One form of cancer traced to specific causes, Burkitt's lymphoma, is linked to environment. Six other factors fairly conclusively established as causes of distinctive cancers are illustrated on the following pages. These causes are surprisingly diverse: local foodstuffs or food-preparation techniques, personal habits and a parasite that lives mainly in the Nile River. Among the most puzzling cancer pockets are those where breast cancer is unusually prevalent. The disease is apparently influenced by many factors - heredity, childbearing, possibly viruses and, according to some authorities, a diet high in fats. None of these suspected causes, however, explains why in all the United States, breast cancer is most common around the Great Lakes.

The concentration of lung cancer in Great Britain and the Southern United States is attributed to cigarette smoking - an almost universal habit - and to industrial pollution in those areas. But no one knows why the states of Georgia and South Carolina should suffer so from esophageal cancer - a widely scattered disease whose suspected causes elsewhere have been isolated. In the Transkei (region of South Africa) many Bantu men contract this cancer because - it is speculated - they drink a maize beer that contains a cancer-causing nitrosamine. Alcohol cunsumption, perhaps in combination with smoking, may be the reason for esophageal cancer in France. And among Iran's nomadic Turkomans, the cause could be their regular fare of sooty bread.

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In the modern world, no branch of the human family tree is known to be free of cancer, though rumors to the contrary keep popping up. In 1977 for example, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization reported that the people of Pakistan's remote Hunza Valley showed no signs of the disease. The UN report was proved wrong; the Hunzas have insignificantly fewer cases of cancer than other populations of similar size, environment and occupation. Farmers in the uplands of Soviet Georgia - near the black sea - have long been an even richer source of health myth. They were once said to be not only cancer-free, but even immune to the aging process; tales abounded of people still active at the age of 125. But the accounts of fantastic longevity turned out to be based on provincial chauvinism and bad record-keeping. And the Soviet government, after an intensive study of the Georgians, reported in 1980 that they suffer as much breast, lung and cervical cancer as other Soviet peoples; in fact, only the incidence of stomach and esophageal cancer proved substantially lower than the average.

The facts about the Soviet Georgians illustrate an important truth about cancer. Although the affliction is universal, there are strange variations in its incidence, as a whole and by type. World Health Organization statistics showed that in 1974 and 1975 Scotland had a higher cancer death rate than any other country in the world - more than five and a half times higher than that of Thailand, the country with the fewest cases. Variations among types of cancer were even wider. Japan and Norway had much the same total cancer death rates, but the Japanese suffered three times more stomach cancer than the Norwegians; on the other hand, the death rate from breast cancer among Norwegian women was nearly four times higher than among the women of Japan.

Scientists can explain some of the variations in cancer incidence, including the appalling rate of stomach cancer in Japan. They are virtually certain that the Japanese diet, high in smoked and salted foods and in known carcinogen called bracken fern, is a major cause of that cancer. Elsewhere, specific cancers have been attributed to specific foods and other agents. But anomalies and mysteries remain. No one yet knows, for example why the cancer death rate is highest in Scotland. And no one knows why the breast cancer death rate is higher in Norway than in Japan, though some scientists have suggested that differences in childbearing or breast feeding customs may be the key.

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Soon after metastasis, the cancer becomes deadly. Thousands of individual cells or microscopic tumors may lie hidden in the body. Every each of them must be hunted down and killed. If just one is left anywhere, it will grow again and again until it finally wins. Having grown, a cancer may take over an artery, blocking the flow of blood to such vital organs as the kidneys, liver and heart. Cancer in the pancreas or the bone marrow may reduce the blood's ability to clot. If internal bleeding begins elsewhere in the body - possibly from a blood vessel ruptured by a metastasized tumor - the victim may die of it. Cancer colonies in the lymphatic system so weaken the body's defenses that an ordinary fungus infection, usually simple and easy to cure, will rage out of control.

Of all cancer's effects, the best known and most disturbing may be a pattern of symptoms called cachexia. It begins with an inexplicable loss of appetite. Weight drops off - sometimes slowly, sometimes with frightening speed - muscles become weak, sleep elusive. Pain is constant. As the malnourished body deteriorates, wastes within it reachtoxic levels. Eventually the victim goes into a deep, terminal coma. Cachexia is seen in patients with cancer, AIDS,chronic obstructive lung disease, congestive heart failure and tuberculosis.

Such are the ravages of advanced cancer, the ultimate effects of a single diseased cell. The disease is both ancient and universal. Examinations of Egyptian mummies have revealed bone cancer in people who lived 5,000 years ago. The Incan Indians who inhabited Peru 24 centuries ago developed not only bone cancer, but a virulent form of skin cancer called melanoma. Among both peoples, the incidence of the disease was apparently low; only a few cancers have been seen in the thousands of mummies and skeletons that have been studied. The ancient egyptians and inca were short-lived peoples; most of them presumably died of other diseases or of injuries long before cancer had time to develop.

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Benign tumors can be harmful despite their name. A small benign tumor inside the skull may block the blood supply to the brain, causing a stroke. Larger tumors can be dangerous anywhere in the body - and benign tumors weighing 70 pounds have been recorded. A medium sized or large tumor can deform vital organs and interfere with their functions. Malignant tumor can have the same effects but their real menace lies in metastasis. The process begins when a cancer cell breaks away from the tumor. The malignant cell may enter the bloodstream and be swept to a distant site almost anywhere in the body. Wherever this wandering parasite comes to rest, it is dangerous. Every cancer cell can do many things that normal cell cant. It grows, regardless of local conditions and its descendants reproduce more or less crudely the tissue from which it came. Thus fragments of intestine, bone or stomach will be found in the lung.

Lung cancer is disease which consists of uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. This growth may lead to metastasis, which is the invasion of adjacent tissue and infiltration beyond the lungs. The vast majority of primary lung cancers are carcinomas, derived from epithelial cells. Lung cancer - the most common cause of cancer-related death in men women - is responsible for 1,3 million deaths worldwide annually as of 2004. The most common lung cancer symptoms are shortness of breath, coughing and weight loss. 

The bloodstream is only one of the pathways of propagation. Cells from a malignant tumor may be absorbed directly by a clear, watery fluid called lymph that is conveyed throughout the body by a network of lymphatic vessels. The malignant cells picked up by lymph may then lodge in filter-like structures called lymph nodes. (Ironically, the lymphatic system normally serves to protect the body against disease). Malignant cells can even work their way through solid tissue; a cancer in the lining of the stomach for example, can grow through the stomach wall to establish colonies elsewhere in the abdominal cavity.

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The two types of tumors differ in a variety of ways. A benign tumor - the wart is familiar example - is almost always enclosed in a capsule or sheath of fibrous tissue. Malignant tumor is rarely so well confined and tend to invade adjacent tissue. Some exceptions to this rule do exist. Wilms tumor for example, a cancer that strikes at the kidneys in children is encapsulated like a benign growth. This kidney cancer symptoms are palpable mass in the abdomen, hematuria and hydronephrosis. There may also be no signs or symptoms however. A palpable mass is by far the most common sign. The mass typically presents first in the anterior lumbar region, between the margins of the ribs and the crista ilii; it then grows forward to the umbilicus, upwards into the hypochondrium and downwards into the iliac and inguinal regions. In extreme cases it fills the entire belly. The colon and sometimes a portion of the small intestines, lies in front of it. This position of the colon furnishes an important diagnostic mark of all kidney cancers.

When the outward appearance of a tumor does not reveal its nature, the distinction between benign and malignant can be seen through a microscope. If a kidney cancer is benign, the cells within it closely resemble those of the kidney itself in patterning and structure. In Wilms tumor - and in all other cancerous tumors - the cells have only a rough resemblance to those of theing cell tissues in which they originally grew. Instead, they take on characteristics of their own. A normal cell has a single small body - the nucleus - at its center; a cancer cell may have a huge nucleus, or two or even more. Like the nucleus, other components of the cell's interior may be deformed or multiplied. An entire cancer cell is usually misshapen and groups of them grow helter-skelter, lacking the orderly arrangements of normal cells.

There is a third difference between the two types of tumor - the most important distinction of all. Benign tumors are localized; they grow generally quite slowly but they stay at their original sites. Cancer tumors establish outposts elsewhere in the body, by a process called metastasis. Metastasis is the cause of about 90 % of deaths due to breast cancer and roughly 70 % of all patients dying of breast cancer metastasis have evidence of metastatic bone disease. Metastatic breast cancer excrete lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) that binds to receptors on tumor cells, inducing cell proliferation and release of cytokines (IL6 and IL8, potent bone resorptive agents) and stimulating bone resorption.

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Cancer had been such a dark and fearful mystery because it takes so many forms. It can strike any organ, any tissue, anywhere in the body. Despite this diversity, all cancers share certain characteristic. They are all diseases of individual cells, the basic building blocks of plants and animals. No multicelled organism is immune to these diseases. A growth called crown gall, which appears on a number of plants, including daisies and tomatoes, exhibits certain characteristic of cancer. Insects get cancer; the fruit fly, a favourite creature of experimenters because it reproduces so rapidly - more than 35 generations per year - suffers from both brain tumors and blood cancers. Fish that swim through harbors polluted by tars and oil that cause cancer in human being develop cancers similar to human cancer. Dogs, cats, cows and horses get cancers of various types. Some wild animals such as cheetahs and certain asiatic bears, were once thought to be immune. They are not. Protected in a laboratory or a zoo from disease and their natural enemies, so that they consistently reach an age old for their species, they too develop the disease.

In all of these living thing, a cancer starts when something goes awry inside a cell, the smallest unit of living tissue. An error is somehow introduced into the genetic code, the complex pattern of molecules that normally ensures the reproduction of a new cell perfectly fitted to its function in the body. The genetic error may be caused by a chemical; by radiation therapy; or by the tiny agent of disease called virus. In addition, many genetic disruptions are simply random slippages of the cell's machinery, with no discernible cause. The result is the same : a new born freak cell called a mutant.
Few mutant cells survive long enough to do any damage. Some are so deformed or deficient that they wither and die; others are destroyed by the body's natural defenses. In a cancer victim - however - at least one such cell hangs on to life and eludes the body's defender. The cell divided into two, the two into four. Eventually, a billion or more may form a tumor, a swollen lump perceptible to the touch.

Rarely do swellings indicate the growth of new tissue and even more rarely are they dangerous. The hard knot that follows a bump on the head is simply an accumulation of fluid beneath the skin; other swellings are caused by pus at the site of an infection. Even a tumor consisting of mutant cells is seldom cancerous; most tumorous lumps are classified as benign and generally can be ignored. Only malignant or cancerous, tumors inevitably pose a thread to life.

Continue to "How Malignancy Begins (part 2)"

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Smoking is only one among many avoidable causes of cancer. Alcohol is another; so are certain foods and certain substances added to foods to preserve or flavor them. Over-exposure to the sun's radiation can produce a skin cancer, the penetrating radiation of X-ray can cause cancers deep in the body. Most insidious and diverse of all are the cancer-causing chemicals encountered in factories, mines and almost every other area in which materials are processed or chemically changed. Hardly a month passes in which cancer detectives do not identify a new suspect for this rogues gallery or find a new outbreak of a known criminal.

Substances and forces that cause cancer are called carcinogens. The hunt for them goes on and campaigns to eradicate them are only beginning to have an effect. But if every carcinogen now recognized could be eliminated overnight, the incidence of cancer would be cut in half by the year 2000.

It is in the light of such hard facts that Dr.Vincent De Vita's statement on cancer's curability assumes its full dimensions. Half of all cancers can be prevented; more than half of those that cannot be prevented can be cured. Over the next generation, because of these 2 facts alone, the annual number of cancer deaths in the industrrialized world can be reduced from 183 to 55 per 100,000. The estimate is conservative; further-and almost certain-advances in prevention and cure would improve it. Clearly, the war against cancer is winnable and it is being won.

The war is far from over. Cancer remains a major killer. On many fronts, campaigns against the disease falter or do not move all. Avoiding carcinogens in everyday life means giving up cherished habits; eliminating them from the workplace has heavy economic consequences - lost jobs, lost revenues and increased costs. Early detection and diagnosis, which offer the best chance of curing a cancer, are often neglected or ignored; and some types of cancer still stubbornly resist the best available treatment.

The battles that have been won in the desperate war on cancer are almost entirely victories of recent years. Until the end of the 19th century, the disease was indeed essentially incurable; some superficial cancers could be removed by surgery, but nothing more. At the turn of the 20th the range of therapy broadened to include X-ray treatments, which can burn away both surface and deep cancers; the nature and causes of the disease, however were still matters of speculation. Then with the explosive growth of medical knowledge following World War II, scientist and physicians acquired four major resources in their unending battle, all new and all further strengthened with each passing year. They know how to prevent most cancers. they have superb diagnostic tools to catch it early, often long before any ordinary symptoms of illness appear. They have an arsenal of marvelously effective weapons against it; treatments by surgery, radiation and drugs that far surpass anything the world has ever known. And perhaps most important, they know what cancer is.

To enrich our knowledge about cancer, these are quality books to read :

The Biology of Cancer by Robert A.Weinberg

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