Quantifying Progress in Treating Cancer

Cancer is the great bugbear of aging, the mechanisms of your biology slipped into destructive ways. But even before the development of the cancer cures of future decades, cancer will become a merely unpleasant chronic condition - a tax on your wallet rather than your life. EurekAlert! notes the progress made to date, even as the population ages, and even prior to the introduction of impressive next generation therapies presently in trials and the laboratory: "death rates from cancer in the United States have decreased by 18.4 percent among men and by 10.5 percent among women since mortality rates began to decline in the early 1990s ... for the number of cancer deaths to decrease, the decline in the overall cancer mortality rate must be large enough to offset the increasing numbers due to growth and aging of the population." Take the policy mumbo jumbo in the article with a grain of salt: it is progress in medical technology - and resulting lowered cost and increased effectiveness of existing techniques - that underlies the drop in death rates for many age-related conditions.

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-02/acs-rsh021808.php

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