Friday, March 6, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Can we envision a world free of cancer

By
From page B8 | February 08, 2014 |

The Fairfield community recently suffered a devastating loss as Holy Spirit School’s principal, Sister Liz Curtis, succumbed to metastatic breast cancer.

In years past, a malignancy would be referred to euphemistically as a “long illness.” At Sister Liz’s memorial services, however, she was lauded for fighting valiantly against cancer up until the end.

We have come a long way. High-profile cancer patients began to discuss their diseases in frank terms only a few decades ago.

Betty Ford, the former first lady, was among the first to describe her battle with breast cancer. Film star Angelina Jolie chose to undergo prophylactic mastectomies upon learning that she was at high risk of the disease due to an inherited gene mutation, BRCA1.

The late Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. similarly was open in discussing his prostate cancer. As cancer comes out of the closet in terms of public recognition, a high toll on our communities is highlighted.

Breast cancer, for example, afflicts 1 million people worldwide annually, with 230,000 cases in the United States causing 40,000 deaths. Some public health experts estimate that one in seven women will be diagnosed with the disease. To be sure, a “lead time bias” effect causes more and more women to undergo minimally invasive procedures that eradicate minute “in situ” cancers.

Similarly, some affluent communities appear to be affected by the illness disproportionately, reflecting more aggressive screening. Nonetheless, this is a public health challenge of immense proportions. Each of the women affected has co-workers, family and friends who will be affected emotionally, economically and spiritually.

In terms of overall mortality rates in the U.S., the real success stories have been in the treatment of heart attacks and strokes. According to National Vital Statistical Report data published by the Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of cardiovascular death dropped 3 percent from 2010 to 2011.

To be sure, cancer deaths also declined by 2.4 percent during that period. But we still suffer in excess of half a million deaths a year in the U.S. due to cancer. Only heart disease causes more deaths.

There are grounds for some optimism. For example, lung cancer deaths should continue to decline with lower prevalence rates of smoking. Cervical cancer rates also declined with the advent of Pap smear screening, and the recent development of a vaccine against the causative viral agent should propel a trend toward lowering the incidence of that disease.

Screening for colon cancer is also a positive development, although we are not as successful in screening for pancreatic or esophageal cancers.

Ongoing research in terms of prostate cancer is attempting to resolve complicated issues relative to the role of screening modalities, such as the prostate specific antigen test for that disease. Many childhood malignancies and lymphomas are curable. Indeed, cancer is not one disease, but a family of disorders, and we are making enormous progress. But can we do better?

The federal budget for 2014 proposes $30 billion for the National Institutes of Health, 1 percent of federal spending. Six percent of federal spending, however, is necessary to service debt. I would like to see those numbers reversed, some day.

Let us battle diabetes, arthritis and infectious diseases more aggressively, as well. Research insights often influence different areas of medicine simultaneously. For example, viruses may cause some cancers.

John F. Kennedy pledged to put a man on the moon within 10 years. Perhaps a presidential pledge to eliminate cancer deaths would be an even more daunting challenge. Nonetheless, I believe we can do better. I suspect that Sister Liz would agree with me. Do you?

Scott T. Anderson, M.D., Ph.D. ([email protected]) is clinical professor of medicine, UC Davis. This column is informational and does not constitute medical advice.

Scott Anderson

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 3 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • The MisterFebruary 08, 2014 - 7:18 am

    No, we can't envision a world without cancer... because ever since Nixon declared a war on cancer, the "cancer industry" has become a multi-billion dollar industry... with big pharma, big medical, and big research. Anything that might promise real a real cure or prevention, especially if it is something that can't be patented (like natural foods or exercise) will never be taken seriously by the "cancer industry" because there's no money in it. And that's the bottom line... not saving lives but making money. So no, we can't envision a world without cancer because there will never be a world without the highly profitable "cancer industry".

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • ?February 08, 2014 - 7:27 am

    Book.........World Without Cancer: The Story of Vitamin B17 [Paperback] G. Edward Griffin

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mike KirchubelFebruary 08, 2014 - 1:05 pm

    Agreed. Eliminate the money wasted paying interest on our National Debt and use it to fund medical research. Purchase the "Fed" and put it into the U.S. Treasury Department where it belongs.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Show resilience in the face of adversity

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

 
Real McCoy II Ferry set for maintenance

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

 
Vacaville police slate annual awards ceremony

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

Limited damage to apartment from carport fire

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Students sample industry choices during school career fair

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
National Red Cross Month celebrates heroes

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Il Fiorello schedules citrus class

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Jury convicts ex-con who served as own lawyer

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4

 
Red Carpet Gala to benefit theater foundation

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

Pet remembrance event set in Vallejo

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Friday concert benefits Families Helping Families

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Vallejo police arrest 4 in connection with 3 killings

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

 
Suisun City police log: Tuesday, March 3, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Fairfield police log: Tuesday, March 3, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
.

US / World

 
Justices sharply divided over health care law subsidies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
California lawmaker pushes child care worker vaccinations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Children in Southern California breathing easier, study says

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Failures by 3 governments preceded homeless man’s death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Second Los Angeles hospital reports ‘superbug’ infections

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Obama signs Homeland Security funding bill into law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

House panel issues subpoena for Clinton’s personal emails

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
 
A defiant Alabama regains ground against gay marriage

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

How much sugar is in that? 7 foods with added sugar

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Microsoft co-founder says he found sunken Japan WWII warship

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Coal mine blast kills at least 24 in war-torn east Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

.

Living

Today in History: March 5, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 5, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: March 5, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
I can’t tell if I still want to be married, or just don’t want to be alone

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ tops MTV Movie Awards nominations

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Glen Campbell children fighting wife’s control of affairs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

DiCaprio partners with Netflix for series of documentaries

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Sports

 
Posey has 2-run double in Giants’ 9-2 loss to A’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Local report: Vanden softball slips by Rodriguez with late run

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Curry shoots Warriors to 102-93 victory over Bucks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
NCAA reports big jump in home runs with new flat-seam ball

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

MLS, players agree in principle to 5-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Prosecutors can’t bring up Florida shooting in ex-NFLer case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Vikings agree to trade Cassel to Bills

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Scott opens a season of change at Doral

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

‘It WAS him': Defense admits Tsarnaev bombed Boston Marathon

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
With Peterson’s status in question, Vikings pay a visit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NFL stadium supporters in LA suburb file ballot paperwork

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Alex Johnson, AL batting champ in 1970, dies at age 72

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Goodell: NFL responsible for Super Bowl seating problems

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Former player Nate Jackson calls for NFL to allow marijuana

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Phoenix to install tire barriers before NASCAR visit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Pirelli sticks with same tire choices for first 4 F1 races

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

AP Source: Peyton Manning returning for 18th NFL season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Aaron D. Malave

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Cesar Luis Garcia-Regalado

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Rodolfo Landabora Porquez

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
.

Comics

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9