Cancer Still Winning War ...on Cancer

Drugs extend life, but can't stop deadly spread of disease
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Dec 2, 2007 5:35 PM CST
New cancer treatments only extend patients' lives by a few months.    (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – Nixon declared war on cancer in '71, but $69 billion in funding and claims of near victory are yet to slow it down, the Boston Globe reports. No one knows what makes it spread—and trigger 90% of cancer deaths—and a drop in deaths is due to lifestyle changes and early diagnosis, not better drugs. Yet one expert claims that progress is being made, quietly, behind closed doors.

Dr. Judah Folkman of Boston says his treatment stopped one patient's cancer from spreading, and companies are making new tumor-blocking drugs. "When people say there is no progress and they are all gloomy, I don't say anything," he said. "I know about things in the lab that are exciting." Yet US funding has dropped 12% since 2003, and the disease will claim 560,000 lives this year—a far cry from victory in the cancer war.