With cancer, the treatments are very evasive and then you die. I understand that patience is all that we have. Hope for cures is our dream. But did you know that it has been 43 years since President Nixon signed legislation in effect declaring war on Cancer? It is similar to the terrorist situation. How do you declare war on something that doesn’t wear a uniform and something you are not quite sure where it comes from. We are barely one step ahead of the terrorist and seemingly two steps behind cancer. Despite progress on many fronts the war wages on full force. There was 600,000 fatalities in this country last year alone. We are losing the battle to cancer.
There is a promising new weapon coming from a tiny creature with a life span so short it is somehow helping in the science of genetics. There are persist anti cancer patients who refuse to give up and wait to die after all conventional treatments have failed to save their lives. They are usually the healthy people who still get the deadly disease anyway. They have the courage to seek the unconventional treatments. The newest weapon in the battle against cancer is the fruit fly. I kid you not. I remember having to have to count those little bastards in my Biology 101 class in college. Those were the days when I thought I would have the stomach to be a doctor of medicine.
This new weapon is to genetically engineer a fruit fly with your cancer in it. An experiment with every possible drug imaginable to find the perfect cocktail to cure your illness. It is a lofty goal for the lowly fruit fly. In the fight for cancer treatments will this new unconventional approach be the answer? Who knows. This is a war we haven’t finished fighting yet. The people who have been battling cancer and had been resistant to standard treatments hope this new thing will work. Many people have gone through radiation and chemotherapy and at the end of the day they die. Well this pattern has to stop.
When the bill was signed in 1971 there were actually Congressmen who were predicting that there would be an end to Cancer by the Bicentennial in 1976. We haven’t even come close to finding the end to cancer says the American cancer society’s chief medical officer, Doctor Otis Brawly. Cancer is still the number two killer of people in the United States only out ranked by cardiovascular disease. Over the next decade or so they predict that cancer will become the number one disease. It was the number one killer in 1971. There is some good news though, since 1991 breast cancer deaths are down 35%. So are deaths from collo-rectal cancer. That is thanks largely to screening not to any miracle cure. The biggest promise now is it's so called personalized care. It is based on the finding that the genetic mutations causing the cancer vary from person to person. In this way they can target what’s causing the cancer and blast it with whenever they got.
The new center is bound to help many people. It has to. These are people who have already tried conventional treatments. So the battle forges on even though President Nixon has died as well.