Why experts rarely say “cure” cancer

There has never been a better time to hope for cancer. There has never been a time when different types of cancer could be prevented and treated. And as more and more of us see what seems like an honest cure to God, it’s time to get rid of the notion of a “cancer healer.”

“An unprecedented 100% of patients with rectal cancer in the clinical triad of small immunotherapy had no cancer after immunotherapy.”

Last fall, the Cleveland Clinic launched a clinical trial of the vaccine, which aims to eliminate triple-negative breast cancer in high-risk patients. In late May, the City of Hope Cancer Treatment and Research Center in Los Angeles and the Australian biotechnology company Imugene announced the first clinical trials using the cancer-killing virus in patients with advanced tumors. Then, earlier this week, memorable news came from Memorial Sloane Kettering – in a small immunotherapy clinical trial, 100% of rectal cancer patients “disappeared after immunotherapy – without the need for standard treatment of radiation, surgery, or chemotherapy.” Dangerously, they are referred to as “cutting, burning and hunting” patients.

Has the long-awaited cure come to an end? Unfortunately, this is not simple, because cancer is a simple thing.

“Treatment” was, fortunately, a less common phrase in 1969, when cancer researcher Sidney Farber called on the president in the Washington Post to publish a full-page ad; The ad read, “Mr. Nixon: You can cure cancer.” A decade ago, the New York Times asked, “Is there a cure for cancer in you?”

Since then, the rhetoric has become more nuanced, and the phrase refuses to leave altogether. Susan G. Comenius has initiatives such as “Race for Healing” and Vacoal’s “Treatment for Fit.” There are biopharmaceutical companies that make sketch claims about a “universal cure for cancer.” Major media outlets have just headlines, such as The Telegraph’s recent opinion on whether or not a “cancer cure” is within you. When the Biden administration announced an ambitious relaunch of Cancer Munshot’s “Stop Cancer as We Know It” plan earlier this year, they changed their goal to at least add a few words about “improving the experience of living and overcoming cancer.”


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I sometimes cautiously describe myself as healing. After being diagnosed with metastatic melanoma, which led to rapid death, and undergoing a clinical trial of innovative immunotherapy, I did not show any evidence of the disease for ten years. But I will try to say it openly in my There was no cure the to heal.

Cancer is not something. These are more than a hundred things, more than a hundred variations on the subject of uncontrolled cell growth, all with their own unique expression. There are four types of breast cancer and four types of melanoma. Dr. Jonathan Chernoff, chief researcher at the Fox Chase Cancer Center, explained: “Cancer is a general term. There are different types of cancer in different tissues, and they have different effects. Not all of them are caused by cancer. The same mutations and they are all the same.” does not respond to treatment. ”

Genetic variation in each of us makes each cancer a unique experience. Some treatments are good for some people, but not for others at all. I didn’t have a proper BRAF mutation for vemurafenib, and it was approved by FDA treatment a few days before I was diagnosed with stage 4. Is Vemurafenib an Effective Treatment for Certain Types of Cancer? Yes. Does anyone call it a “cure” for cancer? Of course not.

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While they are able to say that, it is a really exciting future was were, the past, cancer, and even more so should be a space to think outside of everything or nothing, never getting it. The medicine is wonderful; I need to know. Advances in one type of cancer, on the other hand, can often lead to the hope of curing others. For example, immunotherapy used to be the black name of oncology. Today, this approved protocol for dozens of cancers is now being put together with more clinical trials – such as a promising rectal cancer test from the MSKCC. Even cancer-causing cancers, such as pancreatitis, have made remarkable strides in recent times.

However, these discoveries will remain highly adapted proposals in the near future. As one researcher explained to me, you can’t take a broomstick against something as complex and volatile as cancer as penicillin. Frankly, the idea of ​​many effective options and treatments instead of a magic bullet for the second leading cause of death in the United States is astonishing.

As we continue to make progress in eradicating cancer, we can find more space live with it. For some patients, cancer is not a death sentence, a condition they can tolerate. Some people’s tumors cannot be completely eradicated. For them, the phrase “stopping progress” can offer a beautiful and long and bright future just like “healing”. Given the often invasive and severe nature of treatment and its harm to the human body and psyche, the goal of a flawless scan may still be far less important than a healthy overall quality of life.

“Future cancer therapy cannot be overcome by a simple cancer-killing strategy,” the authors of a 2020 article in Cancers magazine wrote. Instead, “We would probably benefit more patients in general by turning cancer into a manageable chronic disease.

This is a line of reasoning worth accepting, even for people outside the world of research. This diagnosis does not come with the assumption that we are “fighting” cancer. This means that a small word cannot be an umbrella term for such a complex experience. In this extraordinary period of science, this means translating the story into a story of incredible hope for millions of living, breathing people from the war against a single enemy.

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