When it comes to treating cancer, the arc of progress has been long, slow and incremental. There have been plenty of breakthroughs along the way, but few have significantly shifted the dial. Speak to most oncologists, who deal in dollops of realism, not hyperbole, and they will always seek to temper expectations. There is no silver bullet – and nor will there ever be, they say.
But more than 50 years after the West first declared its “war against cancer”, the fruits of humanity’s labours are now falling from the trees in abundance.
Survival rates for the likes of breast, prostate and skin cancer are the highest they have ever been. Those with incurable forms of the disease are living longer. And, with each paper that is published, scientists better understand which hurdles need to be overcome to properly conquer cancer.
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