Frontiers Winter 2012
Cancer Care Past, Future, Present
Many research-based advances in cancer care have been made since the signing of the National Cancer Act 40 years ago, and they have steadily improved survivorship rates and quality of life for survivors and their families.
Since 1971, the number of survivors has increased nearly four-fold, and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) reports that 68 percent of the approximately 12 million adult cancer survivors in the United States today are living five or more years after initial diagnosis, compared with just 50 percent four decades ago. Moreover, the AACR says some 15 percent were diagnosed 20 or more years ago.
Our cover story for this issue of Frontiers examines national progress in cancer survivorship, including a relatively new definition of the concept and a clinical approach to cancer that has evolved from an almost exclusive focus on treatment to a full continuum of care that integrates survivorship as an essential component. The story also touches on survivorship research at Ohio State that is designed to improve quality of life by reducing stress and clinical depression.
We describe our commitment to P4 medicine in the story “A Quiet Evolution.” We believe this approach to cancer care will further improve outcomes and quality of life through its emphasis on prediction, prevention, personalization of therapy and greater patient participation in healthcare decisions.
Finally, our story “Foreign Occupiers” presents some of the research under way at Ohio State to understand and halt one of the most intractable challenges in present-day oncology: metastatic cancer, which is responsible for about 90 percent of cancer deaths and often causes enormous suffering.
These stories reflect just some of our exciting efforts to raise the threshold of hope for patients and their families and friends as we work together to create a cancer-free world.